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PhD student position: Molecular plant science and metabolite analysis

 Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg  Würzburg
PhD student position
Functional analysis of plant cell death regulation by sphingolipids
The Chair of Pharmaceutical Biology, Julius-von-Sachs Institute at Würzburg University offers a Ph.D. student position (TV-L13 50%) to a talented, highly motivated student with a genuine interest in research.

Our research group is interested to better understand mechanisms that protect plants from pathogen attack and adverse environmental conditions. We are exploring molecular mechanisms which regulate plant responses to pathogens and to abiotic stress using mainly Arabidopsis thaliana for functional approaches.

Elevated levels of sphingobases induce programmed cell death in plants, and we could show that upregulation of free sphingobases precedes programmed cell death in response to biotic stress. To understand the role of free sphingobases as putative signaling molecules in plant cell death control, the project will analyze the regulation of free sphingobase levels in vivo. For functional tests, we already prepared Arabidopsis lines affected in key enzymes of sphingobase metabolic pathways. In these lines we will analyze sphingolipid levels and -metabolism, cell death induction, pathogen resistance and other physiological parameters.

The project will employ advanced methods for metabolite quantification (HPLC-MS/MS, metabolic pathway analysis) as well as molecular (QRT-PCR) and physiological tests.

Würzburg University offers a broad curriculum for career development. As a PhD student, it is possible to join the ‘Graduate School of Life Sciences’ (, which offers further comprehensive scientific and professional training.

The ideal candidate has a master degree in biology or a closely related life science subject, a fundamental knowledge in molecular plant sciences, and a strong motivation and passion for science. Excellent lab skills, computer literacy and good communication skills in English are required. Experience in metabolite analysis by HPLC and plant molecular biology would be a plus.

The University of Würzburg is an equal opportunities employer and places particular emphasis on fostering career opportunities for women. Qualified women are therefore strongly encouraged to apply. Applications of disabled persons with equal qualifications will be treated preferentially.

How to apply:
Please send your full application (pdf file; including letter of interest, CV, certificates, contact details of two references, and -if possible- a letter of reference) by email not later than February 12, 2016 to
Send application to
PD Dr. Frank Waller
Lehrstuhl für Pharmazeutische Biologie
Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
Julius-von-Sachs-Platz 2
97082 Würzburg
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