PhD Position (m/f/d) – Carbohydrate-Binding Modules as Tools for Designer Cell Walls

Leibniz Institute of Plant Biochemistry (IPB), Halle

Project Summary

Plant cells are shaped and strengthened by carbohydraterich walls, and can thus survive in a wide range of environments. Since cell wall polysaccharides make up the bulk of the plant biomass, they represent the most abundant source of renewable material on Earth. Nevertheless, the biosynthesis of polysaccharides and dynamics changes in their structure remains challenging to monitor in living cells (Voiniciuc et al., 2018, Plant Phys). Heteromannan (HM) is regarded as one the most ancient glycans in the plant wall, and serves as a valuable ingredient in foods, cosmetics, and in many other industries.

A PhD project is available to establish novel probes for the in vivo monitoring of polysac-charides at the Leibniz Institute of Plant Biochemistry (IPB) in Halle (Saale), Germany. Carbo-hydrate-binding modules are promising peptides for the detection of cell wall components in fungi and plants. This project will form an integral part of the Designer Glycans independent junior research group led by Dr. Cătălin Voiniciuc. This vibrant and tight-knit group is rapidly expanding an exciting platform to decipher plant HM production by combining yeast genetic engineering with biochemical analyses of cell wall structure (Voiniciuc, et al., 2019, PNAS). The proposed research addresses fundamental gaps in glycobiology and paves the way for the high-throughput detection and functionalization of wall glycans for numerous applica-tions. Visit https://designerglycans.com or email Catalin.Voiniciuc(at)ipb-halle.de for more information.

Expectations and Benefits    

Applicants should have or be close to obtaining a MSc degree in biology, biochemistry, or related topics. Knowledge of molecular cloning, fluorescence microscopy, and analytical techniques (eg. ion chromatography) is essential. Experience with the cultivation and metabolic engineering of yeast or plants would be an asset. The successful candidate should be resultsdriven, detailoriented, and demonstrate creative problemsolving skills. The lab seeks a motivated, team player with excellent English communication skills.

The position is funded for an initial period of 3 years, and is available starting January 2020. Salary is according to the German Public Service (65% of E 13 TV-L), including benefits. The PhD candidate will join an ambitious research group in an international institute with excellent funding and state-of-the-art facilities. The group leader will directly provide technical training, strategic project advice, and career mentoring. The candidate will benefit from the Doctoral Training Program offered at the IPB Halle and the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg. The following websites provide more information about the PhD program (https://www.ipb-halle.de/en/career/phd-program/) and the beautiful city of Halle, which has many attractions and is well-connected (https://ilikegermany.com/places/halle-an-der-saale/).

How to apply

Applications should include a motivation letter, CV, university diplomas and grades, and the contact information of two references. Please email applications as a single PDF document quoting reference number 21/2019 to bewerbungen(at)ipb-halle.de.

Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the 19th of December, 2019. All applicants are thanked for their interest, however only those candidates selected for interviews will be contacted.

Please notice our data protection information for applicants (m/w/d) according to Article 13 GDPR concerning data protection processing in the application process: