Netherlands: PhD position Molecular Physiology and Genetics at Wageningen

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Job description

We are looking for a PhD molecular physiology and genetics.

Project title

 “Genetic and environmental control of seed quality and seedling establishment”.
Higher plants have many strategies to adapt to the environment to maximize the probability of successful offspring. These strategies may result in the dispersal of seeds with highly variable responsiveness to the environment, which depends on the seed’s history during development and maturation. Thus, seed performance, or seed quality, is highly dependent on environmental cues during seed formation and filling.
The aim of this project is to assess the influence of the maternal environment (growth conditions) on seed quality, on gene (co)expression and on metabolite profiles (including plant hormones) using the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana and the important crop model tomato. We expect to clarify the influence of the environment on a number of independent pathways which are involved in the regulation of seed and seedling performance in Arabidopsis and tomato, using highly advanced genetic materials. On a short term, the identified genes may be used as tools to monitor seed and seedling quality or as molecular markers to assist in breeding programs. On a longer term this study may lead to the development of a model to predict seed quality from the prevailing seed production conditions.

This project will executed by a post-doc, a PhD student (vacancy), a technician and several MSc students and guest workers in collaboration with several Dutch seed companies.
You will conduct physiological and molecular-genetic experiments, including seed and seedling phenotyping, gene expression (QRT-PCR) and gene cloning. You will be involved in metabolite profiling and hormonal analysis, using advanced LC-MS equipment. In addition, you will assist (PhD) students and guest workers.


You have a completed MSc education, a background in seed physiology and technology, and proven experience with quantitative genetics and molecular-genetic techniques in plants. Knowledge of and affinity with gas/liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry is a pre, as well as fluency in English. You are enthusiastic, willing to learn, well organized and dedicated to your work and the people with whom you work. You like to work independently as part of a team and have good communication skills.

Conditions of employment

An estimated maximum salary per month: € 2,083 .- to € 2664.-.
Employment basis: Temporary for specified period.
Duration of the contract: 1 ½ year + 2 ½ years.
Hours per week: 38 (full time only).

Contract type: Permanent


Plant Sciences Group

The candidate will be employed by the Laboratory of Plant Physiology and will work in an enthusiastic team of researchers of the Wageningen Seed Lab. The Lab. of Plant Physiology focuses on understanding the functioning of the whole plant, with an emphasis on the translation of knowledge at the cell- and molecular level to the integration of this knowledge at the whole-plant level. The research program aims at understanding as to how plants respond to environmental cues, including the adaptation to various types of stress and adaptations to co-existence with other organisms.

Wageningen University & Research centre
Delivering a substantial contribution to the quality of life. That’s our focus – each and every day. Within our domain, healthy food and living environment, we search for answers to issues affecting society – such as sustainable food production, climate change and alternative energy. Of course, we don’t do this alone. Every day, 6,500 people work on ‘the quality of life’, turning ideas into reality, on a global scale.

Could you be one of these people? We give you the space you need.

For further information: about working at Wageningen UR, take a look at

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