PhD position available

Interdisciplinary PhD student in plant-insect interactions

The Department of Plant Molecular Biology of the University of Lausanne is offering a post of:

PhD student

Beginning: Fall 2019

Contract: 1 year. Can be renewed twice. Maximum duration 4 years.
Employment: 100%.

Work place: DBMV, University of Lausanne (Dorigny) and Institute of Plant Sciences, University of Bern (Altenbergrain).


Project description

Plants and insects have interacted for millions of years, resulting in the evolution of a multitude of plant defense strategies. Upon herbivory, plants activate direct defenses in the form of toxic proteins and specialized metabolites and deploy indirect defenses such as volatile organic compounds to attract enemies of the herbivores. Insect herbivores on the other hand evolved the capacity to suppress these defenses by releasing effectors. Molecular and biochemical information about plant defense suppression by effectors is scarce, especially in lepidopteran herbivores.

In a joint, interdisciplinary project between the groups of Prof. P. Reymond (University of Lausanne) and Prof. M. Erb (University of Bern), the candidate will aim at i) identify novel effectors from oral secretions (OS) of leaf-chewing caterpillars that inhibit the induction of direct and indirect defenses in Arabidopsis and maize, ii) work towards the identification of effector targets in planta and iii) investigate the impact of the effectors on the performance of the plant and herbivore.

More informations on the host laboratories:

Required: MSc in Biology or equivalent. Previous experience in plant molecular biology, plant-herbivore interactions, or analytical chemistry is a plus. Good command of English (no French or German skills required).

Application:  Please send a motivation letter, CV, copy of University degrees and names of two referees to:
Prof. Philippe Reymond, Department of Plant Molecular Biology, Biophore building, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland by e-mail: Philippe.Reymond[at]

Deadline: Applications will be screened continuously until a suitable applicant is found. Applications received after 31. August 2019 will not be considered.

VIDEO: Glucosinolate regulation model

Here is a great video to illustrate our model for glucosinolate regulation as described in the publication, “Arabidopsis Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors MYC2, MYC3, and MYC4 Regulate Glucosinolate Biosynthesis, Insect Performance, and Feeding Behavior.” Plant Cell, Vol. 25;3117-3132, August 2013.