Plant roots house one of the most diverse microbial communities on Earth. Potentially these can be used to improve stress resilience of crops and enable sustainable food production. You will study relations between plant genotype and microbiome functionality changes under stress as well as the trade-offs with other stress mitigating plant strategies. You will collect experimental data on how tomato responds to a lack of phosphorus, what mitigation strategies tomato and its wild relatives use and how microbiome recruitment fits into these strategies. From these data, using advanced data integration approaches and causal relationship analyses, you will look for evidence of decision points and trade-offs in changes in plant nutrient acquisition strategies, including through the microbiome. This will be further supported by a GWAS experiment in which you will look for genomic associations for nutrient acquisition and microbiome recruitment. Gene candidates will be verified using mutants and/or Virus Induced Gene Silencing.

What are you going to do?
In this PhD position, you will use experimental work and data integration approaches to unravel trade-offs in the plant-microbiome interaction under stress. You are expected to:
– analyse the effect of phosphate starvation on gene expression, root exudate composition and plant root microbiome recruitment and microbiome function;
– use experimental and data integration approaches to analyse the trade-off between recruitment of the microbiome and other P-starvation responses;
– supervise bachelor and Master students.

What do we require of you?
– MSc in Biology or Plant Science;
– experience with experimental plant science, RNAseq and/or metabolomics, incl. data analysis;
– experience with data analysis and/or bioinformatics;
– affinity with (plant) microbiome analysis;
– fluency in English, both written and spoken.

Do you recognize yourself in the job profile? Then we look forward to receiving your application by 9 July 2021.

Please find more information:—plant-microbiome-interaction.html?origin=FpX8Wqb2Sua7FLtTRS6KDw

Do you have questions about this vacancy? Or do you want to know more about our organisation? Please contact: Dr. Anouk Zancarini

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