At the Institute of Research on Horticulture and Seeds (IRHS) in Angers, France, there is a Plant Pathology Post-doctoral Position available for a period of two years.
With 30 partner institutions in 14 countries, this position contributes to the EU-funded Project “Bexyl – Beyond Xylella, Integrated Management Strategies for Mitigating Xylella fastidiosa Impact in Europe,” which offers multiple opportunities for international students.
A phytopathogenic bacterium called Xylella fastidiosa is known for having an outstanding capacity for adaptation, as evidenced by its genetic diversity and ability to infect a variety of host plants. This bacteria is mostly found in plant xylem and is spread by hemipteran insects that consume xylem sap.
Xylella fastidiosa, which is originally from the Americas, has mistakenly spread to various European countries through contaminated plant material. As a result, new diseases have emerged, including “Olive quick decline syndrome” in Italy and “Almond Leaf Scorch” in Spain.
Several strains were introduced decades ago in the south of France, primarily infecting ornamental and natural plants in the Mediterranean shrubland. The chance to study pathogen adaptation to new host plants across a varied landscape is unusual given this particular situation.
Contrary to agricultural monocultures, it is hypothesised that a diversified plant community may select for more generalist genotypes, possibly leading to decreased virulence and increased genetic diversity within the pathogen population.
Depending on their fields of interest, the Post-doctoral Position Researcher will have the chance to explore a variety of research guidelines:
- Examine the genetic basis of X. fastidiosa‘s host plant adaptability. The identification of genes under selection that could be involved in pathogen-plant interactions is made possible by the availability of high-quality genomes from a varied panel of strains identified in France. Taking advantage of the simplicity of creating X. fastidiosa mutants, functional validation of these potential genes in planta can evaluate their influence on pathogenicity.
- Comparing imported and native strains’ host ranges, dynamics of infection, and pathogenicity on typical Mediterranean host plants and traditional X. fastidiosa pathosystems (such grapevine) may help you understand how the two strains differ.
- Examine the interactions between X. fastidiosa as well as the host-associated microbiota, which is an essential part of the host environment that the bacterium contacts. While an ongoing PhD study will investigate the bacterial and fungal communities found in plant xylem, the postdoctoral researcher will concentrate on the viral community, including bacteriophages.
- With a PhD in microbiology, microbial ecology, or microbial genomics and a strong interest in host-microbe interactions, we are looking for a highly driven early career researcher. The chosen applicant should be skilled in bioinformatics for genome analysis and have extensive laboratory expertise in genetics, molecular biology, and microbiology.
- It would be beneficial to have more expertise or information about the beings that live on plants. It is essential to have strong organizational skills, excellent communication skills, and fluency in both spoken and written English.
The Post-doctoral Position Researcher will work with the Emersys research group at the IRHS, and Marie-Agnès Jacques and Jessica Dittmer will serve as project supervisors. The French National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment (INRAE), the University of Angers, and the Institut Agro all collaborate on research through the IRHS, which has 260 staff.
The IRHS is highly knowledgeable in microbial ecology, plant phenotyping, plant physiology, and plant pathology. In addition to 9,000 m2 of greenhouse space, a high-throughput plant phenotyping platform, an internal DNA sequencing laboratory, and core servers for data storage and processing, it offers cutting-edge research facilities.
The French Collection of Plant-associated Bacteria (CIRM-CFBP) and S3 laboratories, which focus on dealing with GMOs and quarantine organisms, are also located within the IRHS.
Post-doctoral Position Benefits
This post is located in the vibrant city of Angers, which is in western France. Angers is located immediately north of the Loire Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage site famous for its beautiful environment, mediaeval cities, and castles, about 300 kilometres southwest of Paris and near to the Atlantic Ocean.
The city of Angers has a thriving cultural scene, which is supported by different universities and museums. Angers is also widely renowned for its expertise in the plant sector, with Végépolys serving as Europe’s top hub for horticultural competitiveness.
Depending on prior work experience, the chosen postdoctoral researcher will earn a gross compensation of around €3,000 per month in addition to other benefits.
To apply, please provide a single PDF file with the following files attached:
- Resume (CV)
- Letter of motivation (in French or English)
- List of all publications
- Two referees’ names and email addresses
The application deadline is July 21, 2023.