We are a research campus with a strong tradition in biosciences focused on complex ecological, evolutionary & developmental aspects of LIFE.

We are looking for excellent & highly motivated candidates for a

PhD position in Molecular Biology and Signal Transduction

A PhD student position is available in the newly established (from December 2020) laboratory of Dr. Michael Wrzaczek at the Institute of Plant Molecular Biology, Czech Academy of Sciences, Ceske Budejovice (http://www.wrzaczek.at). The group works on receptor-like protein kinases (RLKs), specifically on the cysteine-rich RLKs (CRKs). The primary model system is Arabidopsis thaliana, but it is also planned to start work on tomato in the future. The position aims at understanding the molecular roles of cysteine-rich receptor-like protein kinases in the response to environmental stimuli and the interaction with plant development. Some previous work can be found here: Kimura et al. Plant Cell 2020; Hunter et al., 2019 Plant Physiology; Vaattovaara et al., 2019 Communications Biology.

The project will be carried out in collaboration with working groups in Finland, Germany, Czech Republic and Japan so a suitable candidate is expected to be willing to travel.

Available research topics include, depending on the previous experience and interest of the student:

  • Roles of CRKs in the response to adverse environmental conditions
  • Protein kinase specificity (contribution of ecto and kinase domains to CRK function)
  • Conservation of phosphoproteomic signaling networks (abiotic vs biotic stress factors)
  • Cell biology of processes regulated by CRKs

The student will use a diverse set of methods including cloning, recombinant protein expression and purification, generation and work with mutant and transgenic plants (analysis of protein complexes, confocal microscopy) as well as plant physiological assays for immunity, abiotic stress tolerance and development.

What do we offer

  • PhD study for 4 years 2021-2025 (possible start in March 2021),
  • exciting projects understanding signal transduction in plants,
  • PhD fellowship & part-time job employment on research grants,
  • support for career development and mentoring,
  • stimulating English language environment,
  • international team and collaboration and opportunities to travel,
  • meals allowance, full health insurance, student benefits,
  • administration support with relocation & settlement in the Czech Republic,
  • work-life balance in a middle-sized university city offering options for outdoor, sport & cultural activities.


  • MSc in Molecular Biology, Biochemistry or a related field,
  • proficiency in English – oral and written  (ideally proven by IELTS, TOEFL score)
  • familiarity with molecular biological techniques (PCR, cloning)
  • basic computer skills (Microsoft office, statistics) are required, experience with R is beneficial but not mandatory
  • prior experience with research on plants is a plus but not strictly required,
  • experience with protein work (production of recombinant proteins in bacteria, yeast or animal cell culture), proteomics or confocal microscopy is a plus
  • openness to learn new techniques and concepts, ability to drive a research project forward

Please submit your structured CV including list of publications, motivation letter and a contact information for two academic referees via e-mail to michael.wrzaczek@umbr.cas.cz by November 30th 2020. Please note that documents should be submitted in a single pdf file.

Interviews and admission exams with selected applicants will be held in December 2020/ January 2021. The expected start date is in March 2021 (negotiable).