Lunds Universitet, Naturvetenskapliga fakulteten, Biologiska institutionen

Lund University was founded in 1666 and is repeatedly ranked among the world’s top 100 universities. The University has 40 000 students and 7 600 staff based in Lund, Helsingborg and Malmö. We are united in our efforts to understand, explain and improve our world and the human condition.

The Faculty of Science conducts research and education within Biology, Astronomy, Physics, Geosciences, Chemistry, Mathematics and Environmental Sciences. The Faculty is organized into nine departments, gathered in the northern campus area. The Faculty has approximately 1500 students, 330 PhD students and 700 employees.

Project description

Sap-sucking aphids represent a world-wide threat to agricultural crop productivity by inflicting direct damage and nutrient-deprivation to the host plants, but also by acting as major vectors for plant pathogens such as viruses. The research project aims to engineer aphid resistance into plants by genetic transfer of the biosynthetic pathway for iridoids, pheromones that atract aphid predators, into crops like rapeseed and camelina. Female aphids produce iridoid pheromones to attract male aphids to the plants they are colonising. However, the pheromones also attract predatory insects like green lacewings (Chrysoperla sp.) that will effectively scavenge and remove aphid populations.

Additionally, iridoids have been recognised as having a range of beneficial properties for humans, including anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects. Engineered plants producing significant amounts of iridoids can thus act as bio-factories of pharmaceutically relevant compounds. Overall, this project provides promising avenues for significant improvements in aphid resistance and iridoid production in plants, while contributing to our fundamental understanding of engineering novel pathways into plant species.

Specifically, the project aims to:

1) Develop plants attractive to aphid predators by genetic transfer of the iridoid pathway

2) Isolation and quantification of iridoids and intermediates to evaluate plant capacity as bio-factory

3) Assessment of the effect of plastid pathway perturbations on plastid biogenesis and function

Required qualifications

• Master in Molecular Biology, Biology or similar, with experience in molecular biology, genetics and plant physiology.
• Strong verbal and written communication skills in English.
• Highly motivated with strong ability to work independently as well as to collaborate within a research group.
• Practical experience in working with Arabidopsis thaliana or other Brassicaceae is of merit.
• Practical experience in molecular and biochemical techniques such as genotyping, sequencing, bioinformatics, PCR, RNA work, cloning, liquid chormatography or mass spectrometry is of merit.


Students with basic eligibility for third-cycle studies are those who- have completed a second-cycle degree- have completed courses of at least 240 credits, of which at least 60 credits are from second-cycle courses, or- have acquired largely equivalent knowledge in some other way, in Sweden or abroad.

The employment of doctoral students is regulated in the Swedish Code of Statues 1998: 80. Only those who are or have been admitted to PhD-studies may be appointed to doctoral studentships. When an appointment to a doctoral studentship is made, the ability of the student to benefit from PhD-studies shall primarily be taken into account. In addition to devoting themselves to their studies, those appointed to doctoral studentships may be required to work with educational tasks, research and administration, in accordance with specific regulations in the ordinance.

Type of employment

Limit of tenure, four years according to HF 5 kap 7§.

Type of employment Temporary position longer than 6 months
First day of employment As soon as possible
Salary Monthly salary
Number of positions 1
Working hours 100
City Lund
County Skåne län
Country Sweden
Reference number PA2019/1914
  • Olivier Van Aken, +46 46 222 94 13,
Union representative
  • OFR/ST:Fackförbundet ST:s kansli, 046-222 93 62
  • SACO:Saco-s-rådet vid Lunds universitet, 046-222 93 64
  • SEKO: Seko Civil, 046-222 93 66
Published 29.May.2019
Last application date 22.Jul.2019 11:59 PM CET

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