PhD position on “The Roles of Potassium in Drought Stress Tolerance”

The Institute of Applied Plant Nutrition (IAPN) Goettingen is seeking two qualified candidates (f/m) for a PhD position on “The Roles of Potassium in Drought Stress Tolerance”.
The Institute of Applied Plant Nutrition (IAPN) offers 2 PhD positions in Plant Stress Physiology. Ideally, applicants should hold a master degree or equivalent in agriculture, botany, biology or biochemistry and have good command of the English language. Experience in plant-soil interaction assays and/or in plant physiology is desired. IAPN offers a stimulating scientific environment in a young lab with state of the art equipment, as well as an international and collaborative research team, located on campus of the Faculty of Agriculture at Göttingen University, Germany. If you are highly motivated to understand regulatory networks underlying plant stress tolerance, to work in a competitive interdisciplinary group, and to consider the applied aspects of your work, your application is welcome.
Drought is one of the most important abiotic stress factors affecting plant growth and mortality of arable crops. Exploring ways to reduce water use for arable crop production is of great strategic value for sustainable crop production in our future world facing water scarcity. However, there is a lack of knowledge about the plant characteristics of new crop varieties and the role of essential plant nutrients that are required for drought tolerance and high water use efficiency in water-limited environments. Potassium (K) is known as one of the key crop nutrients that are necessary for optimizing transpiration and rate of photosynthesis.
PhD position 1: Multi-sensing plant stresses: The non-contact detection of stress is largely based on optical measurements of plant temperature (by thermal imaging) and fluorescence emission. Thermography and chlorophyll fluorescence imaging are central methods since they provide information on two key physiological parameters: transpiration and photosynthesis. Therefore, the PhD student will conduct collaborative studies in plant cuvettes, in the greenhouse and in the field and use a wide range of new technologies including thermography and chlorophyll fluorescence imaging as well as gas exchange and stable isotopes (13C and 18O).
PhD position 2:  Signaling mechanisms of drought stress: Recently, research on sensing and signaling mechanisms of water deficits took great attention. It is now clear that signaling pathways includes gene expression, phyto-hormones (especially abscisic acid and ethylene), and key plant nutrients e.g. potassium, calcium and nitrate. The PhD student will conduct experiments in several scales in order to explore our understanding on signaling pathways that constitutes interconnected complex network between gene expression, phytohormone production and potassium in sensitive and tolerant varieties of cereals. In addition, the student will study the effect of potassium nutrition on transport of photosynthetic products from source to sink organs and reactive oxygen species scavenging processes.
The PhD positions will be funded by a private party funding the Institute of Applied Plant Nutrition (K+S An-Instituts-Verwaltungs-GmbH), and working conditions as well as salary are equivalent to the German Public Sector (65% TV-L E13).
Applicants from abroad are welcome. IAPN like the University of Göttingen places particular emphasis on fostering career opportunities for female scientists and scholars and therefore strongly encourages qualified women to apply. Disabled persons with equivalent qualification will be given preference. Please submit your application (cover letter addressing your research interests, CV, transcripts, and names/contacts of two references) in electronic format as a single pdf file. Both positions are open immediately (preferably from 01.01.2013). The selection process will be open until the positions are filled. Please send your applications via email to:
For more information please contact:
Prof. Dr. Mehmet Senbayram, IAPN (, +49 (0) 551 3920436) or
Prof. Dr. Klaus Dittert, IAPN (, +49 (0) 551 395569)

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