PhD in computational biology

Ghent VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology

07 Oct 2021


VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology

Steven Maere Lab



The VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology (PSB, is a world-leading plant science institute with the mission to integrate genetics, genomics, and computational biology to unravel the biology of plants and to improve sustainability and climate resilience of crops. 

The Maere lab at PSB ( is active in the fields of computational biology, evolutionary genomics, and plant systems biology. Current research topics include testing a novel experimental setup to unravel the molecular wiring of plant phenotypes under field conditions, studying dosage balance-sensitive genes in plants, and modeling the evolution of transcriptional systems in silico. We are currently looking for a talented Ph.D. student to join our team (4-year position).

Project description

In recent years, the Maere lab has developed a methodology to link genes to phenotypes based on profiling individual plants grown in a common field, see . We are currently using this single-plant -omics setup to reverse engineer complex traits in rapeseed (Brassica napus) and have generated datasets profiling the transcriptome, soil nutrient levels, several microbiomes, and >40 phenotypes for a large set of field-grown rapeseed plants. 

Your project will initially be focused on integrating these datasets, building models that predict the yield phenotypes of individual plants from the other data layers, identifying genes or other factors in these models that may impact rapeseed yield in the field, and prioritizing these factors for validation in wet-lab experiments and field trials. After this, several follow-up lines of research are possible, either purely computational or combining dry- and wet-lab work.


  • You have an MSc degree in Biological Engineering, Computational Biology, or Bioinformatics. Candidates with an MSc degree in Mathematics, Physics, Engineering, or Computer Science and a strong interest in complex biological systems may also apply.
  • You have a passion for science.
  • You are fluent in English (spoken and written) and master several programming languages.
  • Experience in machine learning and -omics data analysis is a plus.
  • Wet-lab experience and field trial experience are pluses.
  • You can work in a team as well as independently.
  • You are meticulous, well-organized, responsible, and self-critical.
  • You take pride in delivering high-quality work.
  • You can think outside the box.

We offer

  • An exciting work environment in a top research institute.
  • The opportunity to be part of a dynamic, interdisciplinary, and international team.
  • A challenging project in a competitive field of science.
  • Ample opportunity to learn new skills.
  • An attractive salary.

How to apply?

Please complete the online application procedure and include a detailed CV, a letter of motivation, and the contact details of two referees. Applications are accepted until the position is filled. 

For more information, contact Steven Maere