Post-doctoral Fellowship in Molecular Genetics of Plant Development

2 days left

Aug 23, 2019
Sep 22, 2019
Organization Type
University and College
Full Time
The Molecular Genetics of Plant Development research group at University of São Paulo's Luiz Queiroz College of Agriculture (ESALQ-USP) is accepting applications for one post-doc position related to the subjects of Molecular Genetics and Plant Development. We are looking for highly motivated and skilled candidates to develop a post-doc project within the scope of main project Study of the interplay between gibberellin and microRNA-controlled pathways, which is associated with the Thematic Project Molecular control of shoot architecture: interplay between microRNAs, transcription factors and phytohormones (grant number 2018 / 17441-3).

MicroRNAs and targets are fundamentals for plant growth and development, controlling crop yield. Indeed, several pathways regulated by microRNAs have been identified as regulatory hubs to manipulate distinct agronomical traits, such as the timing of vegetative and reproductive phase change, leaf development, tillering / branching, panicle / tassel architecture, fruit development, and fertility1. Fine-tuning miRNA target expression levels may lead to the optimization of their effects in plant architecture and seed / grain production. For example, the characterization of a semi-dominant quantitative trait locus, IPA1 (Ideal Plant Architecture 1) demonstrated the importance of the miR156-SPL module for crop improvement. IPA1 was generated by a point synonymous mutation in rice SPL14 locus that perturbs miR156-directed regulation of SPL14, generating an ideal rice plant2. Although it is rare to identify point mutations that perturbs miRNA:target interactions such as the IPA1, the use of novel CRISPR-associated protein 9 (Cas9)-based techniques may help to circumvent this difficult3.

Therefore, the specific objectives of this post-doc project are the following:
  1. To create CRISPR/Cas9-based vectors targeting selected miRNA targets;
  2. To generate CRISPR/Cas9-based mutants using the Base Editor (BE) technology;
  3. To characterize phenotypically and molecularly the CRISPR/Cas9-based tomato mutants regarding the establishment of vegetative architecture and reproductive development.

The selected candidate will work mostly at the Department of Biological Sciences (ESALQ-USP), in the Laboratory for Molecular Genetics of Plant Development (GMDV lab) coordinated by Prof. Fabio Nogueira.

However, the selected candidate will also expend six to eight months in Dr. Thomas Jacobs lab, at VIB-Belgium. In Dr. Jacobs lab, the candidate will be responsible to generate and test CRISPR/Cas9-based vectors.

Candidate's requirements

The candidates must have obtained a PhD degree in Plant Genetics or Plant Physiology or Plant Biochemistry less than seven years ago. A strong background in developmental biology, genome editing, and experience with plant genetic transformation is highly advantageous.

Duration of the fellowship

Initially, the post-doc fellowship is for two years, renewable twice of 12 months, totalizing 48 months, depending on superviser's recommendation and available budge. The selected candidate will receive a Post-Doctoral fellowship funded by the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) in the amount of R$ 7,373.10 monthly and a research contingency fund, equivalent to 15% of the annual value of the fellowship which should be spent in items directly related to the research activity.

How to apply

Application deadline is October 4, 2019. Post-doc fellowship implementation will follow the FAPESP rules ( ).

References and links
  1. Tang J, Chu C. MicroRNAs in crop improvement: fine-tuners for complex traits. Nature Plants 3:17077. (2017)
  2. Jiao Y, Wang Y, Xue D, et al. Regulation of OsSPL14 by OsmiR156 defines ideal plant architecture in rice. Nature Genetics 42:541-544. (2010)
  3. Kim JS. Precision genome engineering through adenine and cytosine base editing. Nature Plants 4(3):148-151. (2018)

More information about the fellowship is at: .

Eligible destination country/ies for fellows: Brazil

Eligibility of fellows: country/ies of residence: All

Eligibility of fellows: nationality/ies: All

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