PhD Fully Funded Position in Aphid-Plant-Microbiome Interactions at Wageningen University in the Netherlands

Aphid-Plant-Microbiome Interactions

PhD Fully Funded Position in Aphid-Plant-Microbiome Interactions at Wageningen University in the Netherlands; Versatile aphids: the role of salivary components and the microbiome on aphid-plant interactions: We are looking for an enthusiastic PhD candidate in the field of insect-plant-microbe interactions who will unravel how aphids tackle plant resistance mechanisms via salivary effectors and their symbiotic relationships with microbes. In this PhD, a panel of aphid species will be studied to identify effectors and microbes that affect their interaction with the host plant. In your approach you will set up and perform wet lab activities, including molecular assays and aphid bioassays, and analyse genomics, transcriptomics and proteomics data.

You will work here; You will work in two chair groups. The Laboratory of Entomology focusses on the biology of insects with an emphasis on understanding ecological aspects in the context of the underlying physiological and molecular mechanisms. The Laboratory of Virology focusses on fundamental research in plant viruses, insect viruses and arboviruses. Where possible, the acquired knowledge is translated to applications that improve food production and human and animal health. Both chair groups consist of a team of ambitious scientists and lecturers. The education programmes focus on BSc, MSc and PhD levels and include ecological, physiological and molecular aspects at Wageningen University. You will work in an international team of PhD students, postdocs and researchers where we value a diverse, inclusive and open-minded atmosphere. You will be involved as a teaching assistant for two courses per year and your personal development will be supported by an individual training and supervision plan of the graduate school Experimental Plant Sciences.

Your qualities

  • you are/ you have: an MSc degree in Biology, Plant Sciences, Plant Biotechnology or a related field with a specialisation in insect-plant or pathogen-plant interactions;
  • curiosity driven and passionate about the behaviour of insects, the plant physiological and molecular responses induced by insects and the role of microbes in this system;
  • experienced in bioassays with plants and insects/pathogens and molecular techniques, such as RNA/DNA extraction and (q)PCR;
  • knowledge on plant defenses and effector biology;
  • motivated to expand your transcriptomics and proteomics data analysis skills;
  • enthusiastic to work on the genomics of insects, plants and their microbiome;
  • willing to supervise undergraduate students;
  • a pro-active team player, committed to obtaining a PhD;
  • good oral and written communication skills, and are fluent in English.

We offer you Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment. A few highlights from our Collective Labour Agreement include:

  • sabbatical leave, study leave, and partially paid parental leave;
  • working hours that can be discussed and arranged so that they allow for the best possible work-life balance;
  • the option to accrue additional compensation / holiday hours by working more,  per week;
  • there is a strong focus on vitality and you can make use of the sports facilities available on campus for a small fee;
  • a fixed December bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent pension scheme.

In addition to these first-rate employee benefits, you will receive a fully funded PhD position and you will be offered a course program tailored to your needs and the research team. The gross salary for the first year is € 2.770 – per month rising to € 3.539,-  in the fourth year in according to the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU) (scale P). This is based on a full-time working week of 38 hours. We offer a temporary contract for 18 months which will be extended for the duration of the project if you perform well.

Wageningen University & Research encourages internal advancement opportunities and mobility with an internal recruitment policy. There are plenty of options for personal initiative in a learning environment, and we provide excellent training opportunities. We are offering a unique position in an international environment with a pleasant and open working atmosphere. You are going to work at the greenest and most innovative campus in Holland, and at a university that has been chosen as the “Best University” in the Netherlands for the 19th consecutive time.

Do you want more information? For more information about the contents of this position, please contact Dr. Karen Kloth, and/or Dr. Astrid Bryon, For more information about the procedure, please contact Noorien Abbas, corporate recruiter, by email:

Do you want to apply? You can apply directly using the apply button on the vacancy page on our website which will allow us to process your personal information with your approval. This vacancy will be listed up to and including 6 May 2024. We hope to schedule the first job interviews on 21 May 2024. Equal opportunities Wageningen University & Research (WUR) employs a large number of people with very different backgrounds and qualities, who inspire and motivate each other. We want every talent to feel at home in our organisation and be offered the same career opportunities. We therefore especially welcome applications from people who are underrepresented at WUR..

We are; The mission of Wageningen University & Research is “To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life”. Under the banner Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen University and the specialised research institutes of the Wageningen Research Foundation have joined forces in contributing to finding solutions to important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment. With its roughly 30 branches, 7,600 employees (6,700 fte) and 13,100 students and over 150,000 participants to WUR’s Life Long Learning, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain. The unique Wageningen approach lies in its integrated approach to issues and the collaboration between different disciplines.

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