PhD Position - Plant reproduction: chromatin-based controls in the reproductive lineage

Plant reproduction: chromatin-based controls in the reproductive lineage


Zürich, Schweiz

  • ORGANISATION/COMPANY      University of Zurich     
  • RESEARCH FIELDBiological sciences › Biology     
  • RESEARCHER PROFILE      First Stage Researcher (R1)     
  • APPLICATION DEADLINE      01/12/2019 23:00 - Europe/London     
  • LOCATION      Switzerland › Zurich     
  • TYPE OF CONTRACT      Temporary     
  • JOB STATUS      Full-time     
  • HOURS PER WEEK      41     
  • OFFER STARTING DATE01/04/2020     
  • EU RESEARCH FRAMEWORK PROGRAMME      H2020 / Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions COFUND     
  • REFERENCE NUMBER      RESPONSE_2019_Call_1_ESR06     

Within the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie Sk?odowska-Curie grant agreement No 847585, University of Zurich is offering a 36-month PhD position for an early-stage researchers (ESR) in in the area of sustainable food systems.

We are offering a PhD position in cell biology, imaging & image processing for 36 months to an ESR in the area of plant sciences/sustainable food systems (plant reproduction). The position is built on (i) a research project contributing knowledge (fundamental science) towards elucidating chromatin-based controls of plant reproduction, impacting fertility and yield and (ii) a secondment in a biology image analysis software company (Bitplane AG) aiming at improving the product visibility in plant sciences and, reciprocally, fueling scientific application knowledge to the engineering team to promote output-driven innovation (OPI concept).

We are looking for an ESR to join our group working in the field of chromatin biology and plant development (visit our website:

In the context of the RESPONSE Doctoral Programme, the ESR will work on a knowledge-producing project contributing the elucidation of molecular processes during plant reproduction that control fertility and yield while interacting with the image processing sofware company Bitplane during a 3-months secondment. Our research focuses on chromatin dynamics in the reproductive lineage and its contribution to reproductive success (cf lab publications). Specifically, the ESR will:

(1) analyse the developmental phenotype, focusing on ovule development and fertility, of mutant plants generated in the lab that impair H1 (linker histone) eviction, a critical chromatin event at the somatic-to-reproductive fate transition. The work involves engineered Dex-inducible mutant lines downregulating a CUL4-mediated degradation pathway.

(2) analyse the chromatin state of mutant germlines by cytogenetic approaches as done previously. This work involves whole-mount tissue immunostaining, confocal microscopy imaging and 3D image processing using the Imaris software (

The aim is to submit the study in a peer-reviewed international journal by the end of the PhD. The ESR will work in close collaboration with Baroux’group members working on other aspects of H1 dynamics in plants.

A planned secondment (i.e. internship) of 3 months at Bitplane AG (Imaris Software Development, is part of this project. During this secondment, the ESR will endorse the role of an application specialist supporting both the marketing and engineering teams by (1) analysing the impact of Imaris in cell biology, focus on plant sciences, and produce showcase and video tutorial material to further promote Imaris and associated practices in the plant science community (see also advocating review), (2) delivering science applications seminars to the engineering team aiming at promoting output-driven innovation (ODI concept). The ESR will be trained in (i) advanced Imaris-based image processing for improving own research workflow by the engineering team and (ii) science and technology communication and JobsToBeDone skills by the marketing team.


University of Zurich


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