Various positions in the R Hell lab, Heidelberg University


A Post doc (TV-L E13, 100%)


a PhD student (TV-L E13, 60%)


Starting date: Autumn 2018

The project: The project addresses a fundamental and pivotal question of plant research: How are protein translation, meristem activity and autophagy regulated under nutrient deficiency to achieve optimal growth responses?

A unique feature of our research team is the combined expertise on the regulation of diverse nutrient assimilation pathways, gene expression and metabolomics profiling and the stress-induced regulation of the sensor kinase ’Target of Rapamycin’ (TOR). TOR is one of the central growth regulators in higher eukaryotes. We selected sulfur metabolism as a proxy for nutrient-deficiency based signaling, since reduced sulfur is incorporated into the amino acid cysteine. The linear and relatively simple sulfate assimilation pathway is well characterized in Arabidopsis and genetic resources are available to our research team for all steps of sulfur translocation, reduction and incorporation. The results will be used as a blueprint to understand the basic principles of TOR regulation in response to other nutrients like carbon, nitrogen and phosphorous. This will be highly relevant to engineer nutrient use efficiency in crop plants, since control of translation and stem cell activity in response to nutrient limitations is the key trigger for developmental plasticity-based stress responses.

Relevant literature: Pfeiffer et al. (2016) eLife; Dong et al. (2017) Nat. Comm.

Collaboration Partners: The project offers stimulating interactions and training opportunities within the framework of the Heidelberg Biosciences International Graduate School and all groups at COS. Strong connections to research groups in France (University of Strassbourg) and China (University of Technology and Sciences, Hefei) support the project.

Profile of candidate’s qualifications: We look for highly motivated young scientists with interest in molecular genetics and processes of cellular regulation. Practical experience in molecular biology, biochemistry or cell biology will be of benefit. The applicants should hold a M.Sc. or PhD in Biology, Biochemistry or other relevant subjects. Successful acceptance at the Heidelberg Biosciences International Graduate School is expected for the PhD student.


The University of Heidelberg is an equal opportunity employer.

Contact details: Please contact Prof. Dr. Ruediger Hell (ruediger.hell [ aT ] or Dr. Markus Wirtz (markus.wirtz [ aT ] for further information and application.