We are looking for a PhD student (m/f/d) in the field of Genetic Dissection of Seed Priming within the EpiSeedLink PhD network.

What are you going to do?
Dissection of seed priming in Brassica napus

You will work in DSV’s Seed Technology Team in the Centre for Phenotyping in Asendorf, Lower Saxony. Seed and seedling vigour are key agricultural traits impacting seed germination and seedling emergence, but also highly complex and challenging to achieve. In DSV we are interested in how seed priming treatments boost the vigour of seeds and seedlings especially under stress conditions. We know that priming effects are highly variable depending on diverse factors such as the plant genotype. Your project will focus on understanding how seed and seedling vigour are controlled at the genetic level in response to seed priming that is aimed to overcome drought stress. Using a collection of Brassica napus varieties you will identify genetic markers linked to seed/seedling vigour-related traits that will help us to tailor oilseed rape breeding.

You will carry out seed vigour and seedling emergence tests in a Brassica napus genotype collection of unprimed vs osmoprimed seeds. You will identify SNPs across the different accessions by transcriptomic analysis (i.e. RNA-seq). You will integrate phenotyping and genotyping data to identify seed priming quantitative trait loci (QTLs) and predict seed priming candidate genes. You will examine the phenotypic response of selected varieties to biostimulants from BioAtlantis.

Your aim will be to uncover candidate genes involved in triggering enhanced seed and seedling vigour in response to priming treatments by applying a GWAS approach under control and drought conditions. Hereto, you will phenotype a diversity set of annual B. napus genotypes from different origins taking advantage of DSV’s high-throughput seed phenotyping platform. You will also perform RNA-seq analyses and integrate your phenotyping and transcriptomic data to identify candidate genes that are key for the control of seed and seedling vigour traits induced by seed osmopriming.
You will actively collaborate with partners at the NUI Galway in Ireland and NuSpec in UK to process samples, produce RNA-seq data, and start data analysis, and with BioAtlantis, to evaluate the effect of seed priming using different chemical treatments on a subset of annual B. napus lines.


What do you have to offer?

  • MSc in Molecular Biology, Plant Science or related biological sciences
  • Strong interest in deciphering how plants respond to seed priming and adapt to the environment
  • Conceptual background in epigenetics and gene expression
  • Knowledge in molecular biology techniques

Experience in data analysis and motivation for training in bioinformatics are a plus.

Our offer

The appointment will be on a temporary basis for a period of three years subject to funding. The appointment will be according to the employment rules of Germany and should lead to a dissertation (PhD thesis). A Personal Career Development Plan will be drafted that includes the attendance to EpiSeedLink courses and meetings.

The gross monthly salary will be according to the MSCA programme, taking into account the country-specific correction coefficient. Besides the salary, you will obtain a mobility allowance (see the Page Requirements and Conditions.


Do you have any questions, or do you require additional information?

Please contact: Dr Ulf Feuerstein, Ulf.Feuerstein@dsv-saaten.de, phone: +49 (4253) 9311 11

You find more information here.