Project group leader — Metabolomic and Informatic analysis of herbivore-induced responses in clock-impaired plants.

Department of Molecular Ecology

This position is part of the ERC-funded CLOCKWORK GREEN project and is available for 5 years, starting February 1, 2013.

Ecological performance is all about timing. Plants are thought to use their circadian clocks to anticipate fitness-determining events, but this has not been studied. To understand how plants’ circadian clocks mediate important ecological interactions such as coping with herbivore attack and attracting pollinators, we are silencing various clock components wild tobacco Nicotiana attenuata and examining how these “jet-lagged” arrhythmic plants coordinate aspects of their secondary metabolism that we know are important for ecological interactions, both in the field and in the laboratory.  We have studied this ecological model plant for more than two decades and have developed a rapid and efficient transformation system to dissect gene functions in nature as well as in the laboratory. We operate a field station in southwestern Utah on Brigham Young University’s Lytle Preserve, and the Max Planck Institute in Jena has state-of-the-art glasshouse and growth chamber facilities. Our department is equipped with state-of-the-art analytical instruments (U-HPLC-ToF-MS/MS, GCxGC-ToF-MS, LC-MS³, GC-MS³ and TDU-GC-MS, as well as HPLC-UV, HPLC-ELSD, and GC-FID systems). The primary task in this position is to make use of our molecular and analytical tools to test, in an unbiased manner, ecological and physiological hypotheses, plan experiments, and analyze the analytical data in the context of gene function and ecological traits.

The ideal candidate has a Ph.D. in biology, biochemistry, or chemistry, an excellent publication track record, leadership skills and is willing to work at the interface of these disciplines. S/he is familiar with the analysis of small molecules, has a knowledge of mass spectrometry and has already analyzed and visualized large data sets, generated by analytical (MS, NMR, LC) and/or molecular biological techniques (non-parametric ANOVA models, neural networks, visualization tools). The candidate must be able to supervise students be productive in the diverse scientific environment of our group. The position comes with a generous supply budget, technical support for all of the above mentioned instrumentation, and a minimum of 2 PhD lines.


Please send your CV, a summary of your previous research experience, a letter of motivation and contact information for at least two references to

Evelyn Claußen
Department of Molecular Ecology
Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology
Hans-Knöll-Straße 8
D-07745 Jena
Email: claussen [at] ice.mpg.de