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Technician in Plant Molecular Biology and Biochemistry

Wetenschappelijke functies
Omvang (fte)
Geplaatst op
15 november 2022
15 december 2022 Vacature gesloten

The Faculty of Science / the Institute for Biology is looking for :

Technician in Plant Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
Vacancy number: 22-758

Project description:
Environmental and genetic drivers of wood and lignin formation in flowering plants (WOODLIG)

Lignin is a plant biopolymer that is abundantly present in the cell walls of so-called lignified cells. Cell wall lignification occurs during cell differentiation and provides mechanical support to the plant body, facilitates long-distance water transport, or prevents water loss. Lignin molecules are most abundantly present inside the wood tissue that is produced by a layer of undifferentiated cells in the plant root or stem. The life cycle of woody species is generally much longer than that of herbaceous species, with slower growth and a more extended juvenile period before flowering. Thus, wood formation is linked to other developmental features, such as flowering time, but the genetic basis for the coupling of woodiness to other developmental aspects is yet unknown. Lignin (and wood) can also be induced by stress conditions, such as drought. However, the regulatory mechanisms underlying drought-induced lignification are mainly unknown.

Increased lignin deposition in plant cell walls as well as increased wood formation in stems and roots have been suggested by a range of pilot studies as a key strategy for drought tolerance during plant evolution. Drought tolerance is currently a key trait in crop breeding, as traditionally productive agricultural areas suffer heavily from recurring and more intensive drought cycles across the globe. At the same time, as lignified wood tissue is a major constituent of agricultural residues, scientists should take advantage of its value in the biobased economy in terms of residue valorisation. Indeed, lignin has high potential in applications such as glues and asphalt, meaning that increased lignin content provides opportunities for replacement of fossilderived products by leftover plant parts of more drought resilient crops.

In this WOODLIG consortium project, the technician will support and facilitate the research of 6 PhD students working at respectively Leiden University (2), Naturalis (1), Wageningen University (2) and Groningen University (1). The Institute of Biology at Leiden University will be the main location, but when needed the technician will temporarily relocate to support the research at one of the other locations.

Key responsibilities:

  • Facilitate and assist in research activities (e.g. molecular biology, biochemistry, plant growth and tissue culture, phenotyping and genotyping).
  • Assist in assembling progress reports (every six months).
  • Organizing consortium meetings (kick-off meeting, final meeting and six progress meetings).

We seek candidates with the following criteria:

  • Bachelor’s (HLO) in Biotechnology, Molecular Biology, or Biochemistry.
  • Fluency in English (reading, writing and speaking) is required.
  • Good organizational and time management skills.
  • Being capable of presenting data at progress meetings.
  • Experience in or affinity with bioinformatics and plant research.

Research at our faculty
The Faculty of Science is a world-class faculty where staff and students work together in a dynamic international environment. It is a faculty where personal and academic development are top priorities. Our people are committed to expand fundamental knowledge by curiosity and to look beyond the borders of their own discipline; their aim is to benefit science, and to make a contribution to addressing the major societal challenges of the future.

The research carried out at the Faculty of Science is very diverse, ranging from mathematics, information science, astronomy, physics, chemistry and bio-pharmaceutical sciences to biology and environmental sciences. The research activities are organised in eight institutes. These institutes offer eight bachelor’s and twelve master’s programmes. The faculty has grown strongly in recent years and now has more than 2800 staff and almost 6000 students. We are located at the heart of Leiden’s Bio Science Park, one of Europe’s biggest science parks, where university and business life come together.

For more information, see  www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/science  and  https://workingat.leiden.edu/

The Institute for Biology
The research within the Institute of Biology Leiden (IBL) aims to work on the science base of biodiversity and health, which is reflected in our leading principle Harnessing Biodiversity for Health. We perform innovative curiosity-driven research to answer fundamental questions, and solutions-driven research to help solving major societal challenges. The latter include protecting nature’s biodiversity, creating sustainable biotechnology and agriculture and increasing good health. Our research focuses on four Research Themes: Bioactive Molecules, Host-Microbe Interactions, Development & Disease and Evolution & Biodiversity. Located in a thriving scientific environment with our Faculty of Sciences,  Naturalis Biodiversity Centre, the Leiden University Medical Centre and the Leiden Bioscience Park, IBL offers an exciting, internationally oriented and inclusive place to work and study.  

Terms and conditions 
The position is expected to start February-April 2023. We offer a full-time position initially for one year. After a positive evaluation of personal capabilities and compatibility the appointment will be extended by a further three years.Salary ranges from € 2471 to € 3764 gross per month commensurate with experience (pay scale 7-8) in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities).

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3 %), training and career development and sabbatical leave. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break.

Leiden University is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from members of underrepresented groups.

Enquiries can be made to  Remko Offringa (r.offringa@biology.leidenuniv.nl). If you have any questions about the procedure, please contact Sylvia Maas (jobs@biology.leidenuniv.nl).

To apply for this vacancy, please send an email to jobs@biology.leidenuniv.nl. Please ensure that you upload the following additional documents (combined in a single PDF file) quoting the vacancy number:

  • Cover letter with motivation
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Names of two professional references
  • Copy of higher education diploma

Only applications received before 15 December 2022 can be considered.

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