Postdoctoral positions in the Zipfel group at The Sainsbury Laboratory

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Postdoctoral positions in the Zipfel group at The Sainsbury Laboratory

Simon Foster (TSL)
Two postdoctoral positions in the Zipfel group at The Sainsbury Laboratory, Norwich, UK

Two postdoctoral positions are available to study receptor kinase-mediated immune signalling in the plant model Arabidopsis thaliana.

The Sainsbury Laboratory is a charitable company of ~80 research scientists and support staff and a world leader in plant science. We are based on the Norwich Research Park, funded by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, and closely linked to University of East Anglia and the John Innes Centre. For more information visit

The first layer of plant innate immunity relies on the recognition of microbes via the perception of pathogen-/microbe-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs/MAMPs) by surface localized receptors called pattern recognition receptors (PRRs). In the plant model Arabidopsis thaliana, the leucine-rich repeat RKs (LRR-RKs) FLS2 and EFR are the PRRs for bacterial flagellin (or flg22) and elongation factor Tu (or elf18), respectively. Within seconds of PAMP binding, FLS2 and EFR form a ligand-induced complex with the regulatory LRR-RK SERK3/BAK1 leading to phosphorylation of both proteins. Additional SERKs, such as SERK4/BKK1, are recruited in a ligand-dependent manner into EFR and FLS2 protein complexes with different preferences. FLS2 (and potentially EFR) also forms a constitutive complex with the membrane-associated cytoplasmic kinase BIK1 that get phosphorylated in a BAK1-dependent manner upon PAMP binding. BIK1 is a positive regulator of most FLS2- and EFR-mediated responses. The mechanisms controlling PRR activation at the plasma membrane and regulating intracellular signalling remain however largely unknown.
The laboratory has recently obtained funding to study the phosphorylation events occurring within PRR complexes and subsequent signalling events. One position is to study the phosphorylation events occurring within PRR complexes and their role in initiating immune signalling, while the other is to characterize novel Arabidopsis mutants identified through a suppressor screen recently performed in the laboratory.
Candidates should be highly motivated individuals with a PhD degree together with a strong background in molecular biology, biochemistry or genetics. Previous work on plant/pathogen interactions or Arabidopsis is not required, but can be an advantage. Salary will be within the UEA Research and Analogous staff Grade 7 scale at between £30,122 and £35,938 pa; the appointment level will reflect qualifications, skills, knowledge and achievements.  The positions are offered for 2 years in the first instance.

Applicants should provide a CV, including the names and contact details of two referees, and a covering letter addressing the selection criteria.  Please send formal applications, quoting the reference number below, either by -mail to [hidden email] or by post to Kim Blanchflower, HR Manager, The Sainsbury Laboratory, Norwich Research Park, Norwich, NR4 7UH, UK.

Ref NUMBER CZ11/2012                 Closing date 15 Sept 2012

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