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PhD candidate @ HortiCell – Microspore regeneration

PhD candidate @ HortiCell – Microspore regeneration

Last application date: Aug 01, 2022
Department: LA21 - Department of Plants and Crops
Contract: Limited duration
Degree: You hold a master diploma in plant biotechnology, biochemistry, agriculture, or an equivalent degree at the time of employment (not later than 01.01.23).
Occupancy rate: 100%
Vacancy type: Research staff

PhD candidate @ HortiCell – Microspore regeneration

  • Vacancy

We are looking for an enthusiastic early career researcher or diploma student who is passionate about plants and with an interest in advancing agriculture in line with the sustainable development goals. You will isolate microspores from several major food crops and learn how to recognize the right stage and cellular type that has the capacity to start embryogenesis, using tissue culture technology and microscopy tools. You record with a good sense for detail how cells behave and what is required to identify and isolate the embryonic cells. Molecular tools and markers will be used to help with the selection and to understand what processes take place during microspore regeneration. In a second face fase of the project, you will develop a new device and define conditions for microspore embryogenesis. A parallel project involves a similar study using protoplasts instead of microspores. The job is challenging and exciting and will come with the thrill to be part of a research teams dedicated to achieving the set goals.

About the project:
New varieties that are resistant to disease, drought, and heat stress, grow on poor soils etc. are necessary for food security and to improve the sustainability of crop production. Plant breeding is a key process in creating such new varieties reducing the need for pesticides, water, and fertilizer. The problem is that breeding is slow and the capacity to create and select elite genotypes limited. We can substantially accelerate breeding by using microspores as a source for genetic variation and production of hybrid lines. In this project, you will work on a new and innovative method to identify and select the microspores that are most suitable for the creation of doubled haploids, a source for making hybrids. You will work in a team that is exclusively involved in the development of the new technology using state of the art equipment at UGent and the VIB. The team consists of a team leader, a technician, and several other PhD students with related topics. If successful, the technology will be implemented in a start start-up company.

Job profile


  • You are dedicated to obtaining a PhD degree
  • You can work accurately and like to work in a lab environment with cells, microscopes, and molecular equipment
  • You are keen to learn, open to share results and experience and work with team members to the benefit of all
  • You can work independently with a great sense of responsibility
  • You report on regular meetings for the team and for other stakeholders

We offer:

  • An open ended contract with a biding of 4 years (time for completing a PhD program)
  • Opportunity to follow trainings and workshops
  • Training in advanced cell techniques
  • A stimulating and supportive environment
  • A flat management organization
  • An open minded environment receptive to human diversity

How to apply

Please submit your application by email to before 1 August 2022.
The reviewing starts immediately, applications are welcome until filled.
Applications must be submitted in English and should include:

  • A detailed CV
  • A one page motivation letter
  • Your diploma scores and ranking in your cohort
  • If you have working experience, provide 2 references

Incomplete applications will not be considered.

For more information about this vacancy, please contact Danny Geelen (, +32 479940252) or Steffen Vanneste (