ERC-funded postdoc position on inter-organelle communication during plant biotic stress responses

Ghent VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology

23 Nov 2023


VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology

Inge De Clercq Lab



18 Dec 2023

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. Its mission is to integrate genetics, genomics, and bio-computing to unravel plant biological processes and to further translate this knowledge into value for society. Please visit us at for more information. 

Within the framework of an ERC Starting Grant, the lab of Prof. Inge De Clercq ( aims to understand how plant cells perceive environmental signals (e.g. from attack by pathogens) and translate this into appropriate defence responses. We focus on studying the central role of intracellular organelles (mitochondria, chloroplasts, and the ER) in stress signal transduction, and uncover the mechanisms of how these organelles communicate with each other through stress-induced contact sites. To this end, we use interdisciplinary approaches by combining high-end cell biology (confocal and super-resolution microscopy), proteomics, proximity labelling, various omics approaches and bioinformatics.

Job description

An ERC Starting grant-funded postdoc position is available in the group of Prof. Inge De Clercq at the VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology (PSB) and Ghent University, Belgium.

You will study inter-organelle (between mitochondria, chloroplasts, and the ER) communication during the plant’s interaction with fungal and oomycete pathogens. Your project is embedded within the ERC-STG grant, entitled “COSI: Understanding organelle communication through COntact SItes in plant stress responses”, which studies the direct association between organelles through stress-induced contact sites by implementing state-of-the-art cell biology and proteomics approaches. With this exciting project, we seek to provide new mechanistic and functional insight into how stress signals are perceived and transduced between intracellular organelles and how they are translated into appropriate defence responses in the nucleus. You will design and implement tools to detect the dynamic (or reversible) association between organelles and characterize the dynamic proteome at their contact sites. Using the established tools, you will study inter-organelle contact sites during various stress conditions, focussing on biotic stresses. You will also be involved in guiding Ph.D. projects focusing on this topic.



  • You have a Ph.D. degree in Biotechnology, Biochemistry, Biology, Bio-engineering, or equivalent.
  • You can plan and conduct research independently and accurately.
  • You have a keen interest in intracellular signal transduction, organelle/cell biology, proteomics, and plant-pathogen interactions.
  • Excellent English communication skills are required.

Desirable but not required

  • Experience from Ph.D. and/or postdoc in plant cell biology, confocal microscopy, proteomics, and plant-pathogen assays is a plus as well as a publication record in peer-reviewed journals showing clear expertise in these areas.
  • Experience in supervising Ph.D. students is not required but is considered a plus.

Key personal characteristics

You should work well in a team as you will be integrated into the international research environment of the VIB-UGent Center of Plant Systems Biology and participate in international collaborations.

We offer

  • A 2-year postdoc position with possibilities for prolongation.
  • An exciting and innovative project embedded in the ERC-STG 2020 grant ‘COSI’, covering an interesting combination of state-of-the-art techniques including cell biology (confocal microscopy, monitoring dynamic protein-protein interactions and (inter-)organelle dynamics, and high-resolution microscopy), proteomics (proximity labelling based on TurboID, protein pulldown), biochemistry, genetics, molecular biology, plant stress assays with a focus on pathogens and various omics approaches.
  • A multidisciplinary and highly stimulating and supporting international research environment.
  • Access to state-of-the-art tools and infrastructure.
  • Various training opportunities are organized at VIB to broaden your expertise and skills (

How to apply?

Interested candidates are asked to apply online.

Additional requirements:

  • A 1–page motivation letter expressing interest in and suitability for the project
  • A 1-page summary of past research activities and how they are in line with those of the research topic
  • Detailed CV including publication list
  • Contact information of 2-3 referees

in one pdf document.

The first review of applications will start immediately. A shortlist of applicants will be selected and invited for interviews.

The position remains open until a suitable candidate is found.

VIB values diversity - in backgrounds and in experiences. The institute needs people from all backgrounds and ways of life to help build a thriving scientific environment. VIB is therefore looking for candidates who are not only strong in their own aptitudes but care deeply about supporting each other's growth. VIB's collaborators are people with different strengths, experiences and backgrounds, who share a passion for science that generates impact in science and in society. Diversity not only includes race and gender identity, but also nationality, age, disability status, sexual orientation, religion and many other parts of one’s identity. All of VIB’s employees’ points of view are key to its success, and inclusion is everyone's responsibility.