PhD Position: Unravelling temperature signalling in plants

Ghent VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology

15 Jan 2022


VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology

Ive De Smet Lab



About the Lab or Description

The VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology (PSB) is a world-leading plant science institute located at the heart of a renowned Plant Biotech campus in Ghent, Belgium. Please visit us at for more information.

The Functional Phosphoproteomics group, led by Prof. Ive De Smet at PSB, tackles early temperature signalling in plants, such as the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana and the crop plant wheat. To unravel this, we focus on dynamic changes in protein phosphorylation status, since temporary and reversible phosphorylation of proteins is essential in regulating various processes. Through a phosphoproteomics approach, the lab has identified potential key regulators of thermomorphogenesis in A. thaliana and wheat, which we started to functionally characterize (see, for example, Zhu et al 2021 Nature Communications 12:4804 and Vu et al 2021 Nature Communications 12:2842).

Job description

The De Smet lab is looking to recruit 1 highly motivated Ph.D. student, who will be involved in elucidating the underlying signalling mechanisms that play a role in regulating plant growth under a changing climate, especially high temperature. The successful candidate will use a multidisciplinary approach, combining biochemistry (phosphoproteomics), cell biology (confocal microscopy), and plant genetics (functional characterization of key regulators). Overall, the Ph.D. project will contribute to our understanding of how an environmental signal (temperature) is perceived by the plant and converted into developmental and physiological responses.



  • a master degree in bio-engineering, biochemistry/biotechnology, or molecular biology
  • You can take initiative, function well in a team, and have a hands-on mentality, perseverance, and critical mind-set
  • Proficient use of the English language for both oral and written communication

Desirable but not required

  • master thesis in protein biochemistry, cell biology, and/or plant genetics will provide you with an advantage
  • experience with a monocot crop, ideally wheat, will play to your advantage
  • a publication record in peer-reviewed journals in the field of ‘animal and plant sciences’ is an asset

We offer

  • A four year Ph.D. grant according to the Belgian system
  • A working climate where trust, international collaboration, and commitment are essential
  • Access to state-of-the-art tools and infrastructure within an excellence-based research institute
  • A stimulating and supportive international research environment
  • Various training opportunities to broaden your expertise and skills

How to apply?

If you are interested in performing high-quality science on temperature signalling in plants, please use the online VIB application tool.

Make sure your application is a single pdf file, including:

  • A detailed CV
  • A one-page summary of past research activities (e.g. in bachelor or master projects)
  • A one-page letter of intent describing how your research experiences and interests are aligned with those of the lab and research topic
  • The names and contact details of 3 referees

The position is available from March 1, 2022. Reviewing of applications will start 01/12/2021 and the position will be allocated as soon as a suitable candidate is found.