PhD position on comparative (meta)genomics of fungal banana pathogens

Title PhD position on comparative (meta)genomics of fungal banana pathogens
Start Date 2020-08-01
Location Wageningen UR
Job Information

University background:

Wageningen UR has a global reputation for its ground-breaking research and innovative education in the fields of food and health, sustainable agrosystems, the rural environment, and societal development – all of which make an essential contribution to the quality of life, i.e. the supply of safe and healthy food and drinks, on the one hand, and the chance to live, work and play in a balanced ecosystem with a large variety of plants and animals on the other. Within Wageningen UR, the Plant Sciences Group (PSG) brings together science education and scientific, strategic and applied research in the fields of biology of plants in relation to their environment, of plant-related organisms and of plant production.

This project will be carried out at the Laboratory of Phytopathology within PSG. This rapidly expanding department focuses on fundamental and applied plant-microbe interactions. This project is placed in the Tropical Phytopathology team that aims to understand the interaction between banana and its major fungal pathogens, from the cellular up to population level. The project is embedded in a larger framework on improved banana breeding strategies at the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture, Tanzania, and is funded through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The project will be executed in close collaboration with the department of Theoretical Biology & Bioinformatics (TBB) at Utrecht University (UU). TBB uses computational biology, bioinformatics, modelling, and big data to address both fundamental and applied questions in the life sciences. The successful candidate will be hosted at the Fungal Evolutionary Genomics group at TBB/UU.

The WUR and UU groups have a leading track record in genome biology, comparative genomics, pathogen genetics, and molecular biology and maintain many national and international collaborations. Together, WUR and UU develop and apply novel computational methods for the analysis and integration of –omics data of fungal pathogens in relation to global population diversification an the underlying genomic processes.

Job description:

We seek a young scientist who wants to solve complex genome evolutionary patterns to understand and combat banana pathogens. Banana is one of the most popular fruits and is a crucial food commodity for Southeast Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Worldwide largely grown as a monoculture, it is particularly vulnerable to diseases, two of which are caused by fungal pathogens. The Kema – Seidl research teams develop and apply state-of-art (comparative) genomics approaches to study the global biodiversity of these important banana pathogens. To strengthen our teams, we seek a driven and enthusiastic colleague. Are you a result-driven researcher who has experience in (comparative) genomics and next- generation sequencing? Do you want to contribute to our efforts to understand the evolution and global dissemination, genome structure and functioning of banana pathogens? In this project, we focus on pathogen effectors – the tools used by the pathogens to support host infection – to shed light on adaptation, selection and global dissemination. Eventually, these effectors will be used as tools to enable the discovery of new resistance factors to turn banana from a classic monoculture into a sustainable diversified crop, both for fruit and food production. The research is projected to lead to fundamental new insights into plant-microbe and microbe-microbe interactions and contributes to securing and diversifying food production. You will be embedded in two strong and expanding teams working on banana-pathogen biology, genome biology, comparative genomics, pathogen genetics, and molecular biology.

Job requirement:

We are looking for an ambitious, enthusiastic team player and result-driven scientist with:

  • an excellent academic record (MSc) in bioinformatics or computational biology
  • demonstrable expertise in working with next-generation sequencing data and/or comparative
  • genomics
  • proven proficiency in programming (in e.g. Python)
  • basic to intermediate statistical and mathematical skills
  • excellent oral and written communication skills in English

We offer:

A full-time position (38 hours), initially for 1 year after which a go/no go decision will be taken on extension with another three years. Gross salary per month € 2325,- in the first year rising to € 2972,- per month in the fourth year, for a fulltime appointment. The candidate will be based at UU with active collaboration with colleagues at WUR.

In addition, we offer:

  • 8% holiday allowance;
  • a structural year-end bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent training opportunities and secondary employment conditions;
  • flexible working hours and holidays can possibly be determined in consultation so that an
  • optimal balance between work and private life is possible;
  • excellent pension plan through ABP;
  • 232 vacation hours, the option to purchase extra and good supplementary leave schemes;
  • a flexible working time: the possibility to work a maximum of 2 hours per week extra and
  • thereby to build up extra leave;
  • a choice model to put together part of your employment conditions yourself, such as a bicycle
  • plan;
  • a lively workplace where you can easily make contacts and where many activities take place
  • on the Wageningen Campus. A place where education, research and business are
  • represented;
  • use the sports facilities on campus.

Wageningen University & Research stimulates internal career opportunities and mobility with an internal recruitment policy. There are ample opportunities for own initiative in a learning environment.

We offer a versatile job in an international environment with varied activities in a pleasant and open working atmosphere.

Contact:

For more information about this position, please contact prof. dr. Gert Kema (gert.kema@wur.nl) or dr. Michael Seidl (m.f.seidl@uu.nl). For information on the selection procedure, please contact vacaturemeldingen.psg@wur.nl).

Applications can only be submitted online, at

http://www.wageningenur.nl/en/Jobs/Vacancies.htm

please do not mail material directly to the persons above.

The deadline for application is August 1, 2020. Do not use the apply button on this page

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