Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences

PhD candidate in Molecular plant Pathology

Faculty of Science – Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences

Publication date
19 April 2017
Level of education
Master's degree
Salary indication
€2,191 to €2,801 gross per month
Closing date
10 May 2017
38 hours per week
Vacancy number

The Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences (SILS) is one of the largest institutes of the Faculty of Science. Its approximately 240 scientists and staff members work in 16 research groups that perform excellent research centered on three themes:

  1. Cell & Systems Biology;
  2. Neurosciences, and
  3. Molecular Life Sciences.

The research group Molecular Plant Pathology  investigates the molecular mechanisms underlying plant disease and resistance. In this context, we are seeking for a PhD candiate that will investigate how effector proteins, produced by the pathogenic fungus Fusarium oxysporum, manipulate the host plant. 

Project and job description

Project description: Effector proteins as tools to dissect plant immunity

Plant pathogens manipulate their host by secreting so-called effector proteins. These proteins typically act inside host cells and affect various signalling processes benefitting the pathogen. The molecular mechanism underlying fungal effector uptake and their mode of action are poorly understood. In our group, we have identified effector proteins from the fungus Fusarium oxysporum and identified putative host targets for some of them. The PhD candidate will investigate how these targets are manipulated by these effectors and how this contributes to disease susceptibility and fungal virulence. The techniques used include standard molecular techniques, stable and transient plant transformation, fungal and bacterial disease assays, (confocal) microscopy, protein purification and protein-interaction assays. Affinity and experience with plant-microbe interactions and the above-mentioned techniques is a plus. This project is funded by a NWO VICI-grant.


  • Determine the molecular mechanism underlying the manipulation of plasmodesmata by the Avr2-Six5 effector pair;
  • Identify the host target of Avr2 and its role in immunity;
  • Uncover the mechanism underlying host target manipulation by Six8 and its role in plant immunity;
  • Increase understanding of the mechanism of uptake of effector proteins by plants cells.

Job description:

Your key tasks as a PhD candidate are:

  • participate constructively in the research environment at the Faculty of Science of the University of Amsterdam and in the Experimental School of Plant Sciences;
  • mManage and carry through your research project;
  • take PhD courses;
  • write scientific articles and your PhD thesis;
  • actively participate in conferences;
  • teach and disseminate your research.


A master/academic degree in (bio)chemistry or molecular biology, affinity for phytopathology is desirable but not required. Experience with protein purification and confocal microscopy is recommended, but a passion for science is a prerequisite.

Key criteria for the assessment of candidates:

  • a master’s degree related to the subject area of the project;
  • the grade point average achieved;
  • professional qualifications relevant to the PhD programme;
  • relevant biological research experience within these areas: molecular biology, microbiology, phytopathology;
  • previous research publications;
  • other professional activities;
  • language skills: fluent in English.

Further information

Project information may be obtained from:

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The appointment will be on a temporary basis for a period of 4 years (initial appointment will be for a period of 18 months and after satisfactory evaluation it can be extended for a total duration of 4 years) and should lead to a dissertation (PhD thesis). An educational plan will be drafted that includes attendance of courses and (international) meetings. The PhD candidate is also expected to assist in teaching of undergraduates.

Based on a full-time appointment (38 hours per week) the gross monthly salary will range from €2,191 in the first year to €2,801 in the last year. The Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities is applicable.

Job application

Due to limitations in recruitment budget we will only consider candidates that are currently in Europe. Please do not respond if you are not in Europe.

Applications may only be submitted by electronic mail and should be sent to: application-science@uva.nl. To enable us to process your application immediately, please quote the vacancy number 17-197 and the position you are applying for in the subject-line.

Applications must include a curriculum vitae and a letter of motivation. Please combine these documents in one single attachment and also mention the months (not just years) in your CV when referring to your education and work experience.

Applications will be accepted until 10 May 2017. #LI-DNP

No agencies please

Published by  University of Amsterdam