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PhD & Postdoctoral Positions, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Germany (2019)

3-year Post Doctoral and PhD positions for creative biologists and chemists and independence to utilize the tools of this remarkable molecular/ecological toolbox to explore hypotheses about the mechanisms and functional consequences of mate-choice in N. attenuata.

The self-compatible Nicotiana attenuata grows in genetically diverse populations after fires and produces flowers that remain open for three days and are visited by assorted pollinators. This native tobacco consistently selects particular mates from mixed pollen loads of multiple mates, all of which are equally fecund in single genotype pollinations. This consistent mate selection is strongly positively correlated with a stylar post-pollination ethylene burst and the termination of floral advertisement. Mate selection occurs via differential pollen tube growth in the upper stylar track and requires ethylene signaling (see Bhattacharya, S. and I.T. Baldwin. 2012. The Plant Journal 71(4), 587–601). We have recently discovered that components of a Solanaceous self-incompatibility (SI) mechanism, particularly stylar-expressed RNase I/II, have been repurposed to play central roles in this pre-zygotic mate selection process (see Guo, H., Halitschke, R., Wielsch, N., Gase, K., Baldwin, I. T. (2019) (2019). Mate selection in self-compatible wild tobacco results from coordinated variation in homologous self-incompatibility genes.

Over the past three decades we have created a molecular-ecological toolbox for Nicotiana attenuata, a native diploid tobacco that grows in the Great Basin Desert, to understand how this native plant survives in the real world. The toolbox is composed of three support platforms (molecular, analytical and ecological) which includes state-of-art molecular biological, genetic and analytical resources comparable or better than what you can find dispersed across the entire Arabidopsis community, but also a field station located in a nature preserve in the plant’s native habitat in SW Utah, at which communities of transgenic plants, harboring silencing and over-expression constructs for plant and insect (for plant-mediated RNAi) genes are regularly planted to test hypotheses about gene function.

A PhD (or Masters for PhD positions) in plant sciences, with strong skills in molecular biology and analytical chemistry; an inquisitive mind; excellent verbal and written communication skills; a publication track record, and a collaborative personality capable of taking full advantage of the awesome genetic, analytical and ecological resources that the Department of Molecular Ecology has developed for Nicotiana attenuata as a model ecological expression system. Experience in modern microscopy and proteomics and/or small molecule metabolomics would be a plus.

For more information please visit the following link:
PhD & Postdoctoral Positions, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Germany (2019)

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