Project SIMPLE - Erasamus+ EU programme for education

Job - functional biology (8 Feb, 2022)

Junior Research Scientist in functional biology of plant-plant interactions

The French National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food, and the Environment (INRAE) is a public research establishment under the dual authority of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Research.

INRAE is recruiting researchers by open competition and offering permanent position.

It is a major player in research and innovation created on 1st of January 2020. INRAE is a research institute resulting from the merger of INRA and IRSTEA. It is a community of 12,000 people with more than 200 research units and 42 experimental units located throughout France.

The institute is among the world leaders in agricultural and food sciences, in plant and animal sciences, and is 11th in the world in ecology and environment. INRAE’s main goal is to be a key player in the transitions necessary to address major global challenges. In the face of the increase in population, climate change, scarcity of resources and decline in biodiversity, the institute develops solutions for multiperformance agriculture, high quality food and sustainable management of resources and ecosystems.

Work environment, missions and activities

You will work in a group of 23 researchers, 24 engineers/technicians and 8 PhD students (PHYTOBIOM department of the PHIM research unit) which studies plant resistance in response to the biotic and abiotic constraints (molecular physiologists) and microbial networks around the cultivated plant (microbiologists, community ecologists). In agriculture, interactions between plants and pathogens are influenced by factors such as fertilization or soil microflora. These factors modify the functioning of the interactions to such an extent that it is often difficult to predict them. Plant-plant interactions that take place in the soil, both in species and variety mixtures, also cause changes in plant physiology. These modifications in turn affect the soil microbiome as well as resistance to pathogens, including airborne ones. Thus, interactions between plants could constitute an innovative lever for crop protection. The mobilization of this lever requires a better understanding of the functioning of plant-plant interactions and their impacts on plant physiology. The host team has identified numerous situations in which interactions between plants of the same species modify resistance, as well as loci that control this phenomenon. You will characterize the molecular and more generally physiological modifications induced in these situations, by producing and analyzing large "omics" datasets (transcriptome, metabolome) using complex bioanalysis tools. You will formulate hypotheses that you will test on the pathways that are involved. You will mobilize your skills in plant functional biology and identify the genes and signal molecules involved. You will thus contribute to a better understanding of the mechanisms that trigger, during plant-plant interactions, the modifications leading to a change in resistance. The models used are wheat and rice, which will allow hypothesis testing in the field. This research will allow better design of plant mixtures and, in the longer term, to make many crop protection solutions effective. Collaborations with INRAE rice and wheat geneticists are already installed and the recruited person will work closely with consortia established around these research questions, in the framework of several funded projects. This work fits into one of the research axes of the PLANTOMIX International Associated Laboratory (Univ. Agric. Yunnan 2019-2023) which will provide facilities in terms of field analysis as well as for the study of primary and secondary metabolism.


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