PhD Position – Carbohydrate-Binding Modules as Tools for Designer Cell Walls

The IPB has outstanding facilities for plant research and is well integrated on the Research Campus of Halle with close ties to the Martin-Luther University and other Research Institutes in the region.

Activities and responsibilities

Project Summary
Plant cells are shaped and strengthened by carbohydrate-rich walls, and can thus survive in a wide range of environments. Since cell wall polysaccharides make up the bulk of the plant biomass, they represent the most abundant source of renewable material on Earth. Neverthe-less, the biosynthesis of polysaccharides and dynamics changes in their structure remains challenging to monitor in living cells (Voiniciuc et al., 2018, Plant Phys). Heteromannan (HM) is regarded as one the most ancient glycans in the plant wall, and serves as a valuable in-gredient in foods, cosmetics, and in many other industries.

A PhD project is available to establish novel probes for the in vivo monitoring of polysac-charides at the Leibniz Institute of Plant Biochemistry (IPB) in Halle (Saale), Germany. Carbo-hydrate-binding modules are promising peptides for the detection of cell wall components in fungi and plants. This project will form an integral part of the Designer Glycans independent junior research group led by Dr. Cătălin Voiniciuc. This vibrant and tight-knit group is rapidly expanding an exciting platform to decipher plant HM production by combining yeast genetic engineering with biochemical analyses of cell wall structure (Voiniciuc, et al., 2019, PNAS). The proposed research addresses fundamental gaps in glycobiology and paves the way for the high-throughput detection and functionalization of wall glycans for numerous applica-tions. Visit or email for more information.

Qualification profile

Applicants should have or be close to obtaining a MSc degree in biology, biochemistry, or related topics. Knowledge of molecular cloning, fluorescence microscopy, and analytical techniques (eg. ion chromatography) is essential. Experience with the cultivation and meta-bolic engineering of yeast or plants would be an asset. The successful candidate should be results-driven, detail-oriented, and demonstrate creative problem-solving skills. The lab seeks a motivated, team player with excellent English communication skills.

We offer

The position is funded for an initial period of 3 years, and is available starting January 2020. Salary is according to the German Public Service (65% of E13 TV-L), including benefits. The PhD candidate will join an ambitious research group in an international institute with excellent funding and state-of-the-art facilities. The group leader will directly provide technical training, strategic project advice, and career mentoring. The candidate will benefit from the Doctoral Training Program offered at the IPB Halle and the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg. The following websites provide more information about the PhD program ( and the beautiful city of Halle, which has many attractions and is well-connected (

Send application to

Applications should include a motivation letter, CV, university diplomas and grades, and the contact information of two references. Please email applications as a single PDF document quoting reference number 21/2019 to

Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the 19th of December, 2019. All applicants are thanked for their interest, however only those candidates selected for inter-views will be contacted.

Please notice our data protection information for applicants (m/w/d) according to Article 13 GDPR concerning data protection processing in the application process:

Bitte beziehen Sie sich bei Ihrer Bewerbung auf jobvector und geben Sie die folgende Referenznummer an: 21/2019

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Das Leibniz-Institut für Pflanzenbiochemie betreibt in interdisziplinären Ansätzen grundlagen- und anwendungsorientierte Pflanzenforschung an Modell-, Kultur- und Wildpflanzen. Im Mittelpunkt unseres Interesses stehen die umfassende Analyse pflanzlicher und pilzlicher Naturstoffe und Hormone, das Studium ihrer molekularen Interaktionen sowie die Untersuchung der Wechselwirkung...
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