PhD in High-resolution microscopy of plant cell wall composition and structure

Research / Academic

We are seeking a highly motivated PhD Researcher with a passion for quantitative microscopy and plant cell mechanobiology to join our team to image the composition and structure of plant cell walls with single-molecule resolution. The goal of your project is to develop and use state-of-the-art microscopy tools and quantitative image analysis approaches to discover how the cell walls of plant cells adapt to mechanobiological cues during development, growth, regeneration, and infection.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Conduct high-quality, curiosity-driven, original, and independent research focusing on high-resolution imaging of the composition and structure of plant cell walls
  • Collaborate with a multi-disciplinary and international team of researchers
  • Present research findings at conferences and publish in top-tier scientific journals

The Green Tissue Engineering consortium

This PhD project is part of the Gravitation programme GreenTE (Green Tissue Engineering), a multidisciplinary consortium of 7 Dutch universities. Together, GreenTE will unravel how plants sense and respond to mechanical stimuli. These fundamental insights will be the basis to develop engineering interventions to improve plant regeneration, seed longevity and defenses against disease. The successful applicant will be an integral member of the GreenTE community, which offers an open, diverse and inspiring environment to engage in multidisciplinary mechanobiology research at the intersection of biology, chemistry and physics, and is expected to participate in GreenTE events, training and collaborations.

Job Description

Much of the inner life of plant cells remains concealed to conventional optical microscopy since nanoscale subcellular structures are beyond their spatial resolution limits. The advent and application of 'super-resolution' microscopy (nanoscopy) techniques have pushed the spatial resolution of far-field optical imaging down to the nanoscale allowing nanoscopy to uncover cell biological secrets that were hitherto obscured behind the diffraction limit. Our group has pioneered the application and development of these tools in the fields of soft matter and food science. In this project you will build upon these recent developments to peer deeper into plant cell wall structure and composition during development, growth, regeneration, and pathogen infection. In this exciting role, you will work in the vibrant and international research group SSM and GreenTE consortium, aiming to chart out super-resolved maps of plant cell walls to advance molecular insight into their response to mechanobiological cues.


  • A master's degree (or an equivalent university degree) in (Bio)physical Chemistry, Molecular (Life) Sciences, Bionanotechnology, (Molecular) Biophysics, Molecular Biology, or related discipline
  • Passionate about microscopy, biophysics, mechanobiology, plant cell biology
  • A solid background in advanced optical microscopy; e.g. quantitative fluorescence and/or super-resolution microscopy
  • A solid background in quantitative imaging analysis and/or biophysics
  • A solid background in mechanobiology and/or plant cell biology
  • Excellent programming (e.g. Python, Matlab) and data analysis skills for processing and interpreting experimental data (from e.g. super-resolution microscopy and/or expansion microscopy)
  • Experience with plant cell imaging is preferred
  • Strong motivation to do excellent, original, fundamental research.
  • Independent and goal-oriented researcher. Team player and able to work in a dynamic, interdisciplinary, and international context.
  • Fluent in spoken and written English. Excellent written and oral communication skills. Note that there is no Dutch language requirement.

Salary Benefits:

A meaningful job in a dynamic and ambitious university, in an interdisciplinary setting and within an international network. You will work on a beautiful, green campus within walking distance of the central train station. In addition, we offer you:

  • Full-time employment for four years, with an intermediate evaluation (go/no-go) after nine months. You will spend 10% of your employment on teaching tasks.
  • Salary and benefits (such as a pension scheme, paid pregnancy and maternity leave, partially paid parental leave) in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, scale P (min. €2,770 max. €3,539).
  • A year-end bonus of 8.3% and annual vacation pay of 8%.
  • High-quality training programs and other support to grow into a self-aware, autonomous scientific researcher. At TU/e we challenge you to take charge of your own learning process.
  • An excellent technical infrastructure, on-campus children's day care and sports facilities.
  • An allowance for commuting, working from home and internet costs.
  • A Staff Immigration Team and a tax compensation scheme (the 30% facility) for international candidates.
Work Hours:

38 hours per week


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