PhD Student in Department of Plant Biotechnology and Bioinformatics
Ghent University, Department of Plant Biotechnology and Bioinformatics

PhD Student

Last application date
Oct 01, 2019 09:39

WE09 - Department of Plant Biotechnology and Bioinformatics

Employment category
Doctoral fellow

Limited duration

Occupancy rate

Vacancy Type
Research staff


Job description

Whole genome duplication (WGD) or polyploidisation provides an organism with an extra copy of the genome. As this copy is entirely redundant it has the potential to evolve new functionality. Consequently polyploidy is considered to be a major factor contributing to (plant) evolution. Nevertheless polyploidisation is a rather stressful event as the extra copy of the genome hampers cell division and causes considerable transcriptional and epigenetic upheaval. Several lines of evidence suggest that polyploid success is somehow linked to environments that are considered to be stressful to their lower ploidy ancestors. Different non-mutually exclusive hypotheses have been proposed to explain this link e.g. stressful conditions promote polyploid formation, polyploidisation causes an immediate fitness advantage allowing polyploids to grow where their ancestors cannot survive, polyploids have an increased evolvability and consequently adapt faster to a changing environment...Using a combination of long and short term evolution experiments on the greater duckweed Spirodela polyrhiza and whole genome sequencing we aim to test some of these hypotheses and to gain insights into the stabilisation of a polyploid genome.


The project has three components: (1) Creating neoautopolyploid duckweed lineages with different genetic backgrounds (2) Testing the immediate effects of WGD on the survival, fitness and the phenotype (and its plasticity) of duckweed in different environments, and testing whether different environments favour different ploidy levels (3) Evolutionary genomics of polyploid Spirodela polyrhiza, we will follow genomic stabilisation, transcriptional dynamics and proteomic changes after WGD.


Profile of the candidate

The applicant should have a master's degree in biology, bio-technology, bio-engeneering (or equivalent) or will have obtained this degree by the start of appointment: January 2020. A strong interest in evolutionary biology is required and experience in both empirical research and bioinformatics are preferred. The student needs to be dedicated to carrying out long-term multidisciplinary research which involves regular maintenance of duckweed cultures, some molecular work, as well as evolutionary genomic analyses. Basic knowledge of programming/scripting and statistics is required. Fluent English and good communication skills, oral and in writing, are essential.


How to apply

We offer a 4 year, ERC funded, PhD studentship in the Van de Peer Lab in Bioinformatics and evolutionary genomic at the VIB-UGent center for plant systems biology.

The PhD student will conduct academic research (full-time) in the field of evolution and evolutionary genomics. Starting from January 2020.

Send your application by the first of October to Your application should include a detailed CV, a cover letter (max. 1 page , including an overview of your study results and your motivation to apply) and contact information of two referees. All documents should be merged into a single PDF.

If you apply for this position please say you saw it on Bioloxy


All Jobs


Harvard University Academic Positions

Kuwait University Current Faculty Openings

Osaka University Academic Opportunities

Purdue University Job Postings for Faculty Positions

Texas Tech University Faculty Openings

Tsinghua University Job Postings

University of Cambridge Job Openings

University of Geneva Faculty Opportunities

University of New South Wales Job Openings

University of Nottingham Research Positions

University of Oslo Academic Jobs

University of Saskatchewan Faculty Positions

University of Southampton Research Vacancies

University of Tokyo Current Academic Vacancies

University of Toronto Open Faculty Positions