University of Dundee

Postdoctoral Research Assistant

Plant Sciences
Job Reference: 
Closing Date: 
Friday, December 7, 2018
Grade 7 (£32,236 - £39,609)

Postdoctoral position to investigate the secretion pathways by which plant pathogen effectors are delivered into host plant cells

The Research: Filamentous plant pathogens (fungi and oomycetes) cause the most devastating crop diseases and thus significantly threaten global food security. Essential components of their virulence arsenal are proteins called cytoplasmic effectors that are delivered inside plant cells to suppress immunity. One of the major scientific challenges in this field is understanding how effectors are secreted and translocated into host cells. We are investigating the means by which cytoplasmic RXLR effectors are secreted by the potato blight pathogen Phytophthora infestans and how they enter living host cells. Importantly, using a range of inhibitors, including new chemical disease control compounds, we have found that certain unconventional secretion pathways are involved in RXLR effectors delivery (Wang et al 2017 New Phytologist 216(1):205-215; Wang et al 2018 mBio e01216-18). By a combination of proteomics, biochemical inhibition, gene knock-down/out, and cell biology (confocal and electron microscopy), we are looking to better understand secretion pathways and secretome composition in Phytophthora. With industrial partners we are looking to devise new phenotypic approaches that can facilitate methods to prevent crop diseases by targeting effector secretion.

Applicants must have a PhD in molecular or cell biological studies of host-pathogen interactions and should have published research in a high-ranking scientific journal as first author. Applicants should ideally have strong experience in molecular cell biology, including confocal and/or electron microscopy. Experience in proteomics and in transformation of Phytophthora is desirable. Applicants should have excellent written and spoken English communication skills and should be able to work both independently and as part of a team.

This position  is available until 31 December 2021.

For further information and informal enquiries please contact Professor Paul Birch (

Applications: Candidates should upload a single document containing a cover letter, brief description of relevant research experience, a CV with publication list, and email addresses of three referees.

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