This position is based in the Integrated Plant Protection unit at the Department of Plant Protection Biology at SLU. Our department, is an interdisciplinary constellation, encompassing Chemical Ecology, Resistance Biology and Integrated Plant Protection research units, providing excellent opportunities for strong research collaboration within and outside the departmental area. Research efforts at the department are directed towards both fundamental and applied research. Applied plant protection research is carried out in collaboration with industry and focuses primarily on the development of environmentally sustainable pest and disease control strategies for agriculture and horticulture, both in Sweden and internationally.
We seek a motivated postdoctoral researcher who will work on a new project investigating selection of plant defence against antagonists in wild Solanum in relation to the composition of the root microbiome in different habitats. An exciting new development in studies of plant and animal immunity indicates that microbial composition in the animal gut, or the phylo- or rhizosphere of plants, is a strong contributing factor to good health. It has been suggested that microorganisms present on plants may act as an outer, first layer of immune defence against infection by pathogenic microbes. To gain a more general understanding of evolution of plant health, we need to conduct studies in natural populations taking into account selective forces generated by microbial communities and their interactions with plants.
The project also has important applied aspects for future development of sustainable plant protection strategies. The project will be performed in close connection with integrated plant protection in cultivated potato against the important potato diseases early and late blight.
The postdoc will be responsible for conducting experiments in the greenhouse and in the field, involving inoculations with potato pathogens and a mycoparasitic control agent, measurements of plant performance and health, investigations of the composition of root microbiome across wild habitats, quantification of selection differentials and transplantation experiments. Other duties include bioinformatic and statistical analyses of data, and writing of scientific manuscripts
The candidate should hold a PhD degree in biology or equivalent. Previous experiences from research in evolutionary biology, molecular biology, interactions between plants and their antagonists, bioinformatic analyses of microbiome data or quantification of selection differentials are merits. Candidates should be fluent in spoken and written English. The candidate must be capable of independent planning, execution and evaluation of experiments. As a person you are enthusiastic and responsible, and have excellent collaborate skills. Personal skills are therefore an important part of the evaluation. Applicants that hold a driving license will be evaluated favorably.
As postdoctoral appointments are career-developing positions for junior researchers, we are primarily looking for candidates with a doctoral degree that is three years old at most.