Plant Molecular Biology Technician

The Department of Molecular Ecology at Max-Planck-Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany is looking for an  

Plant Molecular Biology Technician

Our research and molecular biology facility
The overarching research objective in the Department of Molecular Ecology is to identify traits that are important for the Darwinian fitness of an organism in its complex natural environment. To demonstrate the function of these traits we manipulate the organisms’ interactions in nature and characterize the ecological consequences using a broad set of chemical, molecular and ecological experimental tools. Our team of scientists focuses on plant-mediated interactions and we have developed a suite of molecular and chemical tools in a native plant that has a rich web of ecological interactions: the wild tobacco plant Nicotiana attenuata. The department is well equipped with modern genetic and molecular, as well as analytical, methods and runs a field station in Utah (USA).

The molecular biology platform of the department is equipped with state-of-the-art instrumentation designed to support the genetic manipulations of genomic targets imputed from QTL mapping efforts, genotyping and molecular characterization of transformed Nicotiana attenuata and Nicotiana obtusifolia plants. These genetic manipulations include both transient (Virus Induced Gene Silencing: VIGs(1; 2)) and stable (RNAi(3; 4) transformation and CRISPR-Cas9(5)) gene editing, and molecular characterization by microsatellite-based genotyping(6), NanoString N-counter diagnostics(7), PCR and other standard molecular biological techniques.

Your tasks
The candidate will work in close collaboration with the leaders of the molecular biology platform and our international team of researchers. The main tasks will be the molecular biological characterization of samples from glasshouse and field experiments with recombinant inbred lines (RILs) of the forward genetics population (MAGIC) created in the department. This task includes the maintenance and operation of instruments, DNA and RNA extraction, genotyping, assisting in stable and transient transformation procedures, organization of instrument schedules and maintaining laboratory supplies. The candidate is also expected to assist researchers in conducting experiments, sample preparation and initial data analysis processes.

Your profile
We are looking for a highly organized, communicative individual who enjoys problem solving, keeping records, and interacting with an international team of highly motivated scientists. With a strong background in plant molecular biology you would be interested in applying your expertise in a state-of-the-art research facility. Excellent English language skills (written and oral) are required for the position.

Our offer
We are looking for a Technician (f/m; BTA /CTA or equivalent qualification) to join our group at full-time employment with a fixed-term contract of 5 years for the duration of the MAGIC population screening project. We are looking to fill the position by the end of 2019/beginning of 2020 and it will remain open until filled. Payment follows the German collective wage agreement for government service workers (TVöD-Bund) and depends on qualifications and professional experience. Various fringe benefits in accordance with public service positions are included. The position will offer ample opportunities for developing personal skills and independence.

Your application
The Max-Planck Society is an equal opportunity employer and strives to employ both genders equally, as well as to employ more individuals with disabilities. Therefore we encourage all applicants, independent of their nationality, gender or disability, to apply for this position.
Please send your application (as a single pdf file), including a letter of motivation explaining how your qualifications and experience make you a good candidate for this job, as well as two letters of recommendation together with your full CV to:



  1. Saedler, R., Baldwin, I. T. (2004). Virus-induced gene silencing of jasmonate-induced direct defences, nicotine and trypsin proteinase-inhibitors in Nicotiana attenuata.Journal of Experimental Botany, 55(395), 151-157. doi:10.1093/jxb/erh004.
  2. Galis, I., Schuman, M. C., Gase, K., Hettenhausen, C., Hartl, M., Dinh, T. S., Wu, J., Bonaventure, G., Baldwin, I. T. (2013). The use of VIGS technology to study plant-herbivore interactions. In A. Becker (Ed.), Virus-induced gene silencing: Methods and protocols (pp. 109-137). doi:10.1007/978-1-62703-278-0_9
  3. Krügel, T., Lim, M., Gase, K., Halitschke, R., Baldwin, I. T. (2002). Agrobacterium-mediated transformation of Nicotiana attenuata, a model ecological expression system. Chemoecology, 12(4), 177-183
  4. Gase, K., Weinhold, A., Bozorov, T. A., Schuck, S., Baldwin, I. T. (2011). Efficient screening of transgenic plant lines for ecological research. Molecular Ecology Resources, 11(5), 890-902. doi:10.1111/j.1755-0998.2011.03017.x.
  5. Kim, H., Kim, S. T., Ryu, J., Choi, M. K., Kweon, J., Kang, B. C., Ahn, H. M., Bae, S., Kim, J., Kim, J. S.,Kim, S. G. (2016) A simple, flexible and high-throughput cloning system for plant genome editing via CRISPR-Cas system. Journal of Integrative Plant Biology 58: 705-712
  6. Guo, H., Halitschke, R., Wielsch, N., Gase, K., Baldwin, I. T. (2019). Mate selection in self-compatible wild tobacco results from coordinated variation in homologous self-incompatibility genes. Current Biology, 27(12), 2020-2030. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2019.05.042
  7. He, J., Fandino, R. A., Halitschke, R., Luck, K., Köllner, T. G., Murdock, M. H., Ray, R., Gase, K., Knaden, M., Baldwin, I. T., Schuman, M. C. (2019). An unbiased approach elucidates variation in (S)-(+)-linalool, a context-specific mediator of a tri-trophic interaction in wild tobacco. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 116(29), 14651-14660. doi:10.1073/pnas.1818585116