The Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) is a top research institute of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). NIOO-KNAW focuses on fundamental and strategic research on individual organisms, populations, communities, and ecosystems. The Department of Microbial Ecology offers a Postdoc position (Vacancy number ENWGroot-Postdoc-ME-20-006)


Project title:  Unwiring beneficial functions and regulatory networks in the plant endosphere


Project description: Plant roots are colonized by billions of microorganisms that affect plant growth and tolerance to (a)biotic stresses. Recently we discovered that plants infected by fungal pathogens actively recruit microbes inside their root tissue, the endosphere, for protection. Here we will investigate how plants under siege communicate with their microbiome and characterize the protective endophytic microbes, their genes and metabolites. The obtained fundamental knowledge will provide a strong basis for developing innovative strategies that integrate microbiomes in plant breeding and sustainable crop protection. The overall aim of the Postdoc project is to identify the molecular and chemical cues in plant-endophyte interactions.


Job description:

  • Integrate and analyze microbiome and metagenome data from the recruitment assays with two different plant-pathogen systems.
  • Design and carry out experiments to validate the functional role of the identified microorganisms and biosynthetic genes identified in the recruitment assays.
  • Participate in the network activities and joint experiments of the ENW Groot project
  • Present your work at (inter)national meetings and publish scientific articles
  • Co-supervise MSc and PhD students (NIOO, Utrecht) in the ENW Groot project


  • A PhD degree in molecular plant-microbe interactions, molecular microbiology
  • Demonstrable experience in microbiome data mining, metagenomics, molecular biology, generation of mutants, molecular and functional analyses
  • Experience in CRISPR-Cas and (bio)chemistry will be of added value
  • Willing to work at two different locations (NIOO-KNAW, Utrecht University)
  • Language skills: fluency in English writing and speaking required

Appointment: the Postdoc position will be hosted at NIOO-KNAW and works closely together with the Plant-Microbe Interactions group at Utrecht University, Utrecht. The position is full-time (38 hours/week), initially for 1 year, and upon satisfactory performance to be prolonged to a maximum of 3 years total. The salary is based on experience and will start from € 3.255,00 per month rising to € 4.274,00 per month for a full-time appointment according to scale 10 under the Collective Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO Nederlandse Universiteiten). This does not include 8% holiday pay and an end-of-year bonus. We also offer an extensive package of fringe benefits.


Starting date: September 2020.


Principal supervisors: Prof. Jos M. Raaijmakers (NIOO-KNAW); Prof. Corné Pieterse and Dr. Saskia van Wees (Utrecht University)


Application: NIOO-KNAW wishes our staff to reflect the diversity of society and thus welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background. NIOO-KNAW wishes our staff to reflect the diversity of society and thus welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background. Please send your application, in English, including complete curriculum vitae and names and contact details of three professional referees to, and mention “ENWGroot-postdoc-ME-20-006” in the subject header.


Closing date for application: Monday 15 June 2020. Applications received later than this date will not be considered.


Information: General information about the ENW Groot program can be found at:

Specific information about the postdoc position can be obtained from Prof. Jos M. Raaijmakers;; +31 317-473497



Application deadline:
Start date:
Location: NIOO-KNAW, Wageningen, The Netherlands