Job Properties
  • Job Type
    Full-time Position
  • Category
    Research & Science
  • Languages
  • Experience Required
  • Degree Required
    • Province
    • Date Posted
      December 24,2021
    • Entrusting Package
    • JSS
    • VISA
    • IMG_6430
    • Career Consultation

    PhD position in Plant Development, Genomics and Evolution

    We are looking for an enthusiastic, communicative, and highly motivated colleague with experience in plant biology to carry out a PhD in our group. You will be working on an NWO-VIDI funded project, investigating the evolution of exodermis in flowering plants. Exodermis is a barrier cell type protecting roots in fluctuating environments. The evolutionary path and molecular regulators of exodermis are waiting for discovery. Your project will focus on investigating dynamic ABA-responsive exodermis phenotypes, their evolution and their gene regulatory networks across angiosperms. You will be directly supervised by Dr. Kaisa Kajala and will collaborate with the postdoctoral researcher working on exodermis evolution across legumes. Your goal will be to characterize dynamic exodermis phenotypes in angiosperms, profile ABA-responsive gene expression in select plant species with contrasting exodermal phenotypes, and test hypotheses arising from the gene expression data. You will use a variety of techniques and tools, including histology (sectioning and staining for suberin and lignin), genomics (RNA-seq), comparative gene expression analyses, molecular cloning, and hairy root transgenic cultures. You will be tasked with developing and executing experiments, the analysis and presentation of data, and writing manuscripts. You will have the opportunity to develop your teaching skills and be involved in outreach activities.

    The PhD position has a flexible start date, but preferably before September 2022.


    We are looking for a driven, creative and collaborative candidate with a keen interest to learn and the motivation to work in an ambitious and international research environment.

    You also bring the following essential requirements:

    • a MSc in the area of molecular plant biology;
    • expertise in molecular, histological or genomics techniques;
    • excellent command of both written and spoken English;
    • the ability to think critically and creatively;
    • you are organized and efficient.

    We would like you to have:

    • experience in plant growth protocols;
    • basic bioinformatic skills (e.g., basics of R);
    • experience in root development, hormone gene regulatory networks, or evo devo;
    • affiliation with plant-environment interactions.

    • an exciting project that will investigate a relatively unexplored but highly relevant research area;
    • a full-time position for four years;
    • a full-time gross salary starting at €2,443 in the first year and increasing to €3,122 in the last year (scale P Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities);
    • 8% holiday bonus and 8.3% end-of-year bonus;
    • a pension scheme, partially paid parental leave, and flexible employment conditions based on the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities.

    In addition to the employment conditions laid down in the cao for Dutch Universities, Utrecht University has a number of its own arrangements. For example, there are agreements on professional development, leave arrangements and sports. We also give you the opportunity to expand your terms of employment yourself via the Employment Conditions Selection Model. This is how we like to encourage you to continue to grow.

    More information about working at the Faculty of Science can be found here.

    Over de organisatie

    You will be working in Kaisa Kajala’s research team, within the Plant Ecophysiology group. We are a very diverse and international research group embedded within the Institute of Environmental Biology. You can expect to work in an inclusive, collaborative and motivating environment with a very creative, ambitious and international team of PhD students, post-docs, tenured staff and research assistants. You will have access to world class research facilities and will benefit from our extensive national/international ongoing collaborations (including those with industry), facilitating network building, essential to future jobs.

    At the Faculty of Science there are 6 departments to make a fundamental connection with: Biology, Chemistry, Information and Computing Sciences, Mathematics, Pharmaceutical Sciences and Physics. Each of these is made up of distinct institutes which work together to focus on answering some of humanity’s most pressing problems. More fundamental still are the individual research groups – the building blocks of our ambitious scientific projects.

    Utrecht University is a friendly and ambitious university at the heart of an ancient city. We love to welcome new scientists to our city – a thriving cultural hub that is consistently rated as one of the world’s happiest cities. We are renowned for our innovative interdisciplinary research and our emphasis on inspirational research and excellent education. We are equally well-known for our familiar atmosphere and the can-do attitude of our people. This fundamental connection attracts researchers, professors and PhD candidates from all over the globe, making both the university and the Faculty of Science a vibrant international and wonderfully diverse community.

    Aanvullende informatie

    If you have any questions regarding the position, please contact Dr. Kaisa Kajala (

    Do you have a questions about the application procedure? Then please send an email to

    Open Positions from Universiteit Utrecht
    Related positions