Postdoctoral researcher in Plant-virus interactions (nr 2)

Faculty/Services:  Faculteit der Natuurw., Wiskunde en Informatica
Educational level:  Promoted
Function type:  Academic Staff
Closing date:  5 January 2022


Are you a skilled researcher in Plant biology, and intrigued by how plant NLR-type immune receptors recognize pathogens? We are seeking a postdoctoral researcher for an ambitious project on molecular evolution of immune receptors to generate novel- and expanded viral recognition specificity. At the University of Amsterdam, we study how NLR proteins recognize pathogens, including RNA viruses. Understanding the mechanism underlying viral recognition and resistance will allow for identification/generation of revived functional resistances by targeted mutation-breeding. You will study the functional interaction between the immune receptor and its avirulence determinant.

In this project, we aim to develop a functional screen and use ribosome display to quantify and functionally analyze the interaction between the viral protein and NLR variants.  This project will be executed in close collaboration with two PostDocs, one PhD candidate and industry. You will be embedded in an interdisciplinary team that aims to provide breeding solutions for devastating plant diseases by elucidating the underlying molecular principles using state-of-the-art technologies.


What are you going to do?

You are expected:

  • to work independently yet in collaboration on complementary projects.
  • to develop and optimize Ribosome display technology to study NLR -viral protein interactions;
  • perform a functional screen to identify NLR variants with altered recognition specificity
  • to apply and implement advanced biochemistry, molecular biology, and cell biology to study plant NLR proteins;
  • to generate novel molecular tools to introduce/identify the desired NLR variants in crops;
  • to report and present your work progress on a regular basis to our industrial partners;
  • to actively participate in scientific discussions in our research field and our university;
  • to contribute as a (pro-)active team player to the organization of our laboratory.


What do we require?

  • A recent PhD degree in Plant biology with preferentially 1 or more publications as first author in a peer-reviewed scientific journal;
  • Preferentially, skilled in proteomics, plant biochemistry or big data (statistical) analyses including bioinformatics and scripting in Phyton, R studio, MaxQuant, Persues or related;
  • Hands-on experience in and affinity with molecular biology (Gibson assembly, Goldengate, Gateway cloning strategies, CRISPR-Cas strategies, synthetic biology, plant transformations);
  • An enthusiasm and willingness to become multidisciplinary with a keen eye on Plant virology and/or Plant-microbe interactions;
  • An ambitious person that is a team player with an open character;
  • An appreciation to contribute to valorization efforts and to foster collaborations with academic and industry partners;
  • An understanding and acceptance of the sensitivity of confidentiality in public-private collaborations;
  • Fluency in English, both written and spoken, with proven in experience in writing scientific papers / grants.

Our selection will be based on your scientific track record, your vision on this research project, but most importantly your ambition, skills, and drive to foster your own (scientific) career.


Our offer

A temporary contract for 30,4-38 hours a week, preferably starting on 1-3-2022, for the duration of 12 months. An extension for two years subsequently follows if we assess your performance positive.


The salary, depending on relevant work experience before the beginning of the employment contract, will be between 2836 to 4474 (scale 10) gross per month, based on a fulltime contract (38 hours a week). This is exclusive 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus. A favourable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities is applicable.


Are you curious about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits like our excellent opportunities for study and development? Take a look here.



Do you have questions about the content of the project? Or do you want to know more about our organisation and research team? Please contact: dr. Frank Takken, Associate Professor, tel. + 31 (0)20 525 7795 or email f.l.w.takken@uva.nl .


About the Faculty of Science and the Swammerdam Institute of Life Sciences

The Faculty of Science has a student body of around 7,000, as well as 1,600 members of staff working in education, research or support services. Researchers and students at the Faculty of Science are fascinated by every aspect of how the world works, be it elementary particles, the birth of the universe or the functioning of the brain.

The Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences (SILS) is one of the largest institutes in the Faculty of Science that performs research on four different themes: Microbiology, Neurobiology, Cell and Systems biology and Green Life Sciences (GLS).


The mission – and passion – of Molecular Plant Pathology is to unravel the molecular processes underlying plant immunity as well as plant susceptibility to infectious diseases. Our ambition is to publish on a regular basis in high impact Scientific journals, while fostering the careers of our co-workers. We are dedicated to raising new generations of scientists, and to provide a meaningful contribution towards sustainable agriculture having less impact on our environment. We study these aspects by using state-of-the-art molecular techniques in high-tech labs and in modern greenhouses. This research enables us to develop and explore novel concepts on plant-microbe interactions and permits implementation and creative use of novel technologies in the fields of -omics, microscopy, (digital) phenotyping and genetic alteration of plants and pathogens



Do you recognize yourself in the job profile? Then we look forward to receiving your application by 5 January 2022. You can apply online. 


Applications in .pdf should include:

  • a motivation letter and CV, including a list of publications and grades for your MSc thesis projects
  • Contact details for two references

Please mention the months (not just years) in your CV when referring to your education and work experience.


We will invite potential candidates for interviews in January 2022.


The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritize diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.


No agencies please.