Ph.D. studentship position in the molecular ecology of trees

Trevor Fenning fenning at
Tue Oct 5 10:22:26 EST 2004

Dear Colleagues,

Please pass this advert on to any promising students with a background in
botany, plant molecular biology / biochemistry / genetics, whom you feel
may be interested in studying the ecological interactions of trees at the
molecular level.  Do note, however, that in order to be registered for a
Ph.D. at a German University it is usually necessary to hold the
equivalent of a German Diploma degree (e.g. an M.Sc.), but non-German
candidates applying with a good Honors degree can also be considered.
The language of the institute is English, although it is possible to
write and defend the Ph.D. thesis in English or German, as preferred by
the candidate.  The Ph.D. student would be registered with Professor M.
Hilker of the the Angewandte Zoologie / Oekologie der Tiere (Institute of
Biology), at the Freie Universitaet in Berlin.


Trevor Fenning,

October 5th 2004
Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology,
Jena, Germany.

Ph.D. position to study the molecular aspects of the ecological
interactions between the European field elm and the elm leaf beetle

A position for a Ph.D. student is available at the Max Planck Institute
for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany
(, preferably starting on or
soon after January 1st, 2005.

Larvae and adults of the specialist elm leaf beetle (Xanthogaleruca
luteola) are major natural pests of the European field elm (Ulmus
campestris), and can defoliate whole trees.  Field elms respond to
oviposition of these beetles by releasing novel blends of volatiles,
which attract the elm leaf beetle egg parasitoid Oomyzus gallerucae, even
in the absence of herbivory.

It is the intention of this project to dissect how elms control these
responses at the molecular & genetic levels, including by the use of
biochemical and physiological analyses, cDNA libraries, large scale gene
sequencing, DNA micro-arrays, genetic transformation and rigorous
ecological experimentation. Of particular interest are the terpene and
octadecanoid biosynthetic pathways, as well as any other aspects of the
signaling cascade found to be involved. The successful candidate should
ideally be familiar with biochemical and molecular techniques, but above
all they must be enthusiastic about plant – insect interactions and
be willing to learn.

The Ph.D. position on offer will be based in Jena, and will concentrate
upon the molecular – genetic aspects of the field elms responses,
but will be in close cooperation with Dr. Torsten Meiners of the
Institute of  Biology, at the Freie Universitaet in Berlin, who will work
on the ecological and volatile signaling aspects
(  The project is jointly
funded by these institutions and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
(German Research Foundation), but will also involve collaborating with
the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of Arizona and the
University of Abertay Dundee in Scotland.

The contract and salary will be according to the German BAT federal
public service scale at BAT IIa/2.  To be sure of receiving a full
consideration, interested students should send an application to arrive
not later than Friday the 29th of October, including a curriculum vitae,
copies of University degrees/records, together with a brief summary of
research achievements and two letters of recommendation to Dr. T.M.
Fenning  fenning at , or by mail to :

The Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology
Hans-Knoell-Strasse 8
D-07745 Jena

Informal inquiries should be sent to the above email address or directed
to Ms. Angela Schneider (Biochemistry Department, phone +49
(0)3641-57-1301).  Applicants should hold the equivalent of a German
Diploma degree or M.Sc., in botany, plant molecular biology,
biochemistry, or genetics.  A fluency in English is essential, although
the Ph.D. thesis can be submitted and defended in English or German.

The Max Planck Society and the Freie Universitaet of Berlin are equal
opportunity employers, and international applications are encouraged. ---

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