Doctoral Fellowships in Molecular Biology from Ghent University in Belgium 2020
Ghent University

Doctoral Fellowships in Molecular Biology from Ghent University in Belgium 2020


L'université de Gand, en abrégé UGent, anciennement Rijksuniversiteit Gent (université d’État de Gand,

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State University
15 Jul 2020
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Ghent University offers a four-year Ph.D. fellowship. It offers a position for 1 year, which will normally be extended to 4 years in case of a positive evaluation.

Fellowship Project:

The two-spotted spider mite T. urticae (Arthropoda: Chelicerata) is a serious pest in agriculture. It feeds on an exceptionally broad host range (over 1,100 different plant species) and is notorious for developing pesticide resistance.

The molecular mechanisms underlying spider mite adaptation to xenobiotic compounds (pesticides and plant defense molecules) have been untangled to some extent. However, reliable tools for genome editing that can provide proof of principle for the involvement of genes and mutations in spider mite adaptation are currently non-existent. CRISPR/Cas9 has revolutionized functional genetic work in many organisms but, although straightforward for many model and non-model arthropods, has never been efficient in chelicerates, including spiders, scorpions, and spider mites.

Very recently, we have shown that the Cas9-sgRNA complex could be delivered into T. urticae oocytes after injection of T. urticae females, circumventing traditional embryo injections, but the observed CRISPR-Cas9 efficiency was very low. The main objective of this project is to improve this efficiency and design the Cas9 delivery system based on receptor-mediated ovary transduction, tailored to spider mites. The final aim is to develop this unique tool for genome editing and use it to provide proof of principle for the involvement of key factors in adaptation in this species.

Eligibility Criteria:

Applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • The applicant must have an MSc degree in Biology, Bioscience Engineering, Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Bio-informatics, or equivalent (or will have this degree at the beginning of the project); related degrees may be considered but only when sufficient background in molecular biology and bioinformatics can be clearly demonstrated.
  • Well-acquainted with molecular biology and/or bioinformatics.
  • A drive to answer biological questions.
  • An analytical, critical, and independent attitude.
  • Excellent skills for time management and the ability to meet objectives within set deadlines.
  • Demonstrated the ability to work efficiently and with minimum supervision.
  • Proficient in English, both written and oral.
  • Ideally, you have a strong interest or experience in/with the genetic transformation of arthropods, protein expression, or analysis of sequencing data.

About Ghent University:

Ghent University is a public research university located in Ghent, Belgium. It was established in 1817 by King William I of the Netherlands. Ghent University is one of the biggest Flemish universities, consisting of 41,000 students and 9,000 staff members. The University also supports the University Library and the University Hospital, which is one of the largest hospitals in Belgium. It is one of the greatest beneficiaries of funding from the Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO). Ghent University consistently rates among the top universities not only in Belgium but also throughout the world.

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