Six PhD Positions in Plant Molecular Ecology
The department of Molecular Ecology at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology (Head: Prof. Ian Baldwin) invites applications for 6 PhD fellowships in plant molecular ecology.
We investigate the survival strategies of wild tobacco (Nicotiana attenuata) from a molecular and ecological perspective. N. attenuata is a pioneer plant of the Great Basin Desert (USA) that has developed fascinating mechanisms to withstand insect attack and optimize its own fitness in an adverse environment. In the past, our group has elucidated the molecular mechanisms and ecological consequences of induced resistance and tolerance of N. attenuata. Yet, many important questions remain open. In this novel phase of research, we want to understand the importance of the circadian clock (Project 1), arbuscular myccorrhiza (Project 2) and a series of recently discovered gene-to-metabolite networks (Project 3) for the success of N. attenuata in nature.
Moreover, it is known that although N. attenuata produces a noxious defense-chemical attack against its herbivores, Manduca sexta (Lepidoptera) a specialist herbivore of this plant survives this attack. To reveal the secrets of M. sexta's success on such a heavily defended plant, we have identified some M. sexta genes that were upregulated in its midgut in response to N. attenuata's various defense chemicals. We are trying to validate the biochemical and ecological functions of these genes using the Lepidopteran Reverse Genetics Approach (Project 4).
We are looking for enthusiastic PhD students with strong interests in plant-environment interactions. Applicants should have a firm background in one of the following fields: molecular biology, biochemistry, plant physiology, genetics and analytical chemistry. All our projects are highly integrative and require willingness to embrace multiple disciplines within the domain of plant sciences.
We offer exciting research questions, state-of-the art equipment and an excellent research environment within Department of Molecular Ecology. Successful candidates will receive a PhD fellowship. All positions are available immediately and open until filled.
Please send your application including CV, statement of research interests, names and e-mail addresses of two referees to
Ms Evelyn Claussen
Department of Molecular Ecology
Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology
E-mail: claussen [at] ice.mpg.de