Glandular trichomes are multicellular structures, originating from epidermal cells that produce various food-, medicine-
and agriculture-relevant chemicals. The glandular trichomes of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) are capable of making a diverse array of (specialized) metabolites.
The type VI glandular trichomes of cultivated tomato make, amongst other metabolites, a bouquet of volatile mono- and sesquiterpenes, which are involved in the direct or indirect defense against herbivores.
The biosynthesis of some of these terpenes is, upon herbivory, induced by the hormone jasmonic acid. How multicellular glandular trichomes develop is unknown and the regulation of volatile terpene biosynthesis remains enigmatic.
We have identified a transcription factor from tomato that is, remarkably, not only involved in the initiation and development of type VI glandular trichomes but also in the regulation of volatile terpene biosynthesis.
You will be involved in elucidating the function of this tomato transcription factor further and to use the set of tools that we have developed to identify other molecular players of the network involved in regulating the development of type VI glandular trichomes and the biosynthesis of volatile terpenes.
You will use transcriptome analyses, protein affinity assays, plant transformation, confocal microscopy and GC-MS analyses to identify and functionally analyse genes of interest.
You will also test whether this knowledge can be used to improve resistance against herbivores. The position will be based in the lab of Robert Schuurink at the University of Amsterdam (UvA).
You should have an MSc in plant molecular biology and preferentially have experience in working with DNA, RNA, proteins and plant transformation.
Affinity with specialized metabolites is appreciated but not essential. You should have excellent communication skills and be keen to work in collaboration with the breeding industry.
You must be capable to work both independently and in a team and be highly motivated to pursue a scientific career.