Postdoc position | Molecular adaptations of meiosis in holocentric plants

Einsatzort: Cologne


  • Plant Research

Art der Stelle

Postdoc position | Molecular adaptations of meiosis in holocentric plants

Stellenangebot vom 10.11.2021

The Marques lab, belonging to the Department of Chromosome Biology at the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research - Cologne, is interested in the study of meiotic and centromere adaptations taking place in holocentric plants. We address these questions using beaksedges (Rhynchospora) as model plant species, where we found species with both chiasmatic and achiasmatic inverted meiosis. Transition to holocentricity is also very intriguing and adaptations involving kinetochore proteins are also expected to occur.

In the framework of this research project, which aims to characterize the function of key meiotic genes in Rhynchospora, we are looking for a highly motivated and talented postdoc (m/f/d) (3-year position).

Project summary

Coordination of meiotic cohesion release and meiotic recombination control are strongly influenced by the presence of centromeres. In holocentric Rhynchospora an apparent conserved early meiotic prophase I with pairing and formation of bivalents seem to occurs. However, a very specialized type of meiotic chromosome segregation occurs, the so-called inverted meiosis, where sister chromatids segregate at meiosis I and homologs segregation is postponed to meiosis II. Thus, it is very interesting to understand how holocentric plants adapted their meiosis to deal with holocentricity. However, lack of a model holocentric plant has hampered functional studies and the elucidation of the impact of such chromosome structure in a comprehensive evolutionary and functional perspective. In our group we have recently established a high-quality and fully annotated chromosome-scale reference genome for R. pubera. We have also successfully developed a stable transformation protocol in R. pubera based on embryo culture and Agrobacterium infection, which is allowing us to perform the first CRISPR-Cas9-mediated mutation studies of key meiotic genes. Understanding how holocentricity impacts meiosis function will potentially unveil new molecular mechanisms of great interest for the scientific community.

Your tasks

  • You will identify candidate genes, develop new antibodies and perform several cytological experiments in meiotic cells
  • You will perform CRISPR-Cas9-mediated transformation experiments of key meiotic genes (e.g. ZYP1, MLH1, cohesins, new players!) in R. pubera
  • You will improve transformation protocols and establish transformation in related species
  • You are going to study the association of meiotic and kinetochore proteins with DNA using ChIPseq and more modern methods such as CUT&RUN and CUT&Tag


We are looking for a highly motivated postdoc researcher who shares our group's fascination for meiosis and centromere biology and is eager to learn novel techniques to enhance our knowledge in this field.

The candidate should hold a PhD on plant biology, genetics, biochemistry, cytology, or related field. Good English language skills (written and spoken) are essential, German is not necessary.

It is important to have strong background in molecular biology, plant transformation and cytogenetics. The interdisciplinary nature of the project requires a high level of team work as well as the ability to work independently and very good organization skills.

What we are offering

 A Postdoc position in a vibrant scientific environment with the opportunity to gain expertise in a variety of cutting-edge technologies at the interface between basic and applied plant research. The position is available for a duration of 36 months (with possibility of extension), starting as soon as possible. The salary will be based on the German Public Service (TVöD-Bund) scheme, which includes the usual benefits (health care, unemployment insurance etc.). Working hours are in accordance with funding guidelines of the Max Planck Society for postdoc scientists.

How to apply?

Interested candidates should send a very motivated letter of motivation, CV including contact details for two scientific references and a short description of your latest project through the online system.

If you need further information on the position offered, please feel free to contact André Marques ().

Applications will be gladly accepted before December 31st 2021.

The Max Planck Society is committed to increasing the number of individuals with disabilities in its workforce and therefore encourages applications from such qualified individuals. Furthermore, the Max Planck Society seeks to increase the number of women in those areas where they are underrepresented and therefore explicitly encourages women to apply.