PhD Student Position in Molecular Sciences and Plant, Food and Environmental Biotechnology, University of Milano

Marie Curie Research Training Networks
Contract Number: MRTN-CT-2006-035833
Vacuolar Transport Equipment for Growth Regulation in Planta
Acronym: VaTEP
Starting date of the Contract: October 1, 2006. Duration: 48 months

VaTEP is a Marie Curie Research Training Network which offers a structured 3-year training for European PhD students. PhD students will be trained in a biological discipline that covers multiple levels and links molecular events to whole-tissue growth in plants. VaTEP research projects specifically target plant transport proteins located in the vacuolar membrane (i.e. the tonoplast).

Analysis of such multi-scale processes (i.e., plant growth processes) requires highly skilled researchers that are strong in interdisciplinary thinking and trained in using various types of technologies, ranging from molecular biology, through electrophysiology, biochemistry, and cell biology to highly resolved non-invasive characterisation of whole-plant growth by digital image analysis. In VaTEP, research and training of young researchers is explicitly guided by this view.

One PhD student position in graduate school in “Molecular Sciences and Plant, Food and Environmental Biotechnology” - Plant Biology and Production is available at the University of Milano in collaboration with the Istituto di Biologia e Biotecnologia Agraria, CNR (Milano). This PhD student will work under the guidance of Dr. Alessandro Vitale (the Istituto di Biologia e Biotecnologia Agraria, CNR) at the identification of protein sorting signals and sorting mechanisms for the tonoplast. Such signals have not yet been identified unambiguously, and even the problem of the existence or not of a default destination (i.e. without the need of specific signals) for integral membrane proteins along the plant secretory pathway is still open. The route followed by tonoplast proteins along the secretory pathway to reach their destination is also not yet fully clarified, and protein-specific routes may exist. We will study model tonoplast proteins with multiple or single transmembrane domains. The response of the tonoplast upon overexpression of vacuolar or secretory soluble cargo proteins will also be investigated. Protein engineering, plant transformation, pulse-chase analysis, subcellular fractionation and fluorescence microscopy techniques will be used.

The project will involve strong interactions with other partners of the network including work and training visits to their laboratories, specially Dr. Bernd Müller-Röber (University of Potsdam) Dr. Christophe Maurel (Department of Biochimie et Physiologie Moléculaire des Plantes, INRA, Montpellier) and Dr. Doris Rentsch (University of Bern).

The starting date of the PhD position will be no later than October 1, 2007.

The VaTEP network employs Early Stage Researchers with less than four years experience in research. The candidate should hold an academic degree that enables her/him to undertake doctoral studies. Preference is given to applicants with MSc or equivalent degree in biology, biochemistry, Agricultural Sciences or equivalent. Candidates holding a PhD are not eligible for this position.

Researchers should undertake transnational mobility, i.e. researchers must be nationals of a State other than that of the host organisation. At the start of their fellowship/activity, researchers may not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc) in the country of their host organisation for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the reference deadline for eligibility.

See this page for further information on eligibility.

Preferred qualification and expertise: plant cell biology, molecular biology, protein biochemistry
Duration: 36 months
The income will approximately consists of:
- basic monthly living allowance: € 2528,01
- monthly mobility allowance: € 794,40 (with family) or 496,50 (single)
- annual travel allowance to the place of origin: from € 250 to 2.500 depending on the distance
- one-off career exploratory allowance: € 2.000

Those who wish to apply should submit their applicaton letter via e-mail (or by mail to the address given below), along with a CV and at least two letters of reference, to Alessandro Vitale, Istituto di Biologia e Biotecnologia Agraria, CNR, via Bassini 15, 20133 Milano, e-mail: vitale[ at ], tel: +39 02 23699 431, fax: +39 02 23699 411, before September 18, 2007.

Via: Official Announcement

Closing date: September 18, 2007