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Postdoctoral position: Chemical genomics of strigolactone hormone perception in the parasitic plant Striga hermonthica


The group: The research in the McCourt lab involves the fundamental mechanisms of two plant hormones, abscisic acid (ABA) and strigolactones (SLs) in germination and early seedling growth ( The group use cutting edge tools of both systems and chemical biology to link these hormones to plant growth and development networks in novel ways both at a fundamental level and for biotechnological application.


Job description: Strigolactones (SLs) are a relatively new class of hormones that are used as a germination cue by parasitic plant Striga hermonthica to coordinate with its host’s lifecycle. Once crops are planted their roots exude SLs, which act to stimulate Striga seed germination, thereby allow the parasite to infect and withdrawn host nutrients. In Africa alone, the UN classifies Striga infestations as the major cause of abject poverty on the continent. Thus, understanding how Striga perceives SLs as a germination cue is essential to developing agro-chemical strategies to combating this weed in the developing world. Our group has identified 11 SL receptors in Striga hermonthica that appear to have roles in SL perception (Science. 350, 203-207 (2015), Science 349, 864-868 (2015).  The candidate’s primary focus will involve developing of SL agonists and antagonists to probe Striga SL receptor functions. Furthermore, these probes will be used to dissect the genetic structure of Striga populations for biotechnological application. To this end, the candidate will employ molecular genetics and chemical biology. This includes developing clever genetic screens and utilizing and developing methods of high throughput genetic screening.



  • Candidates are required to have a Ph.D. degree in molecular genetics or chemical biology particularly in a model system.

  • Publications in internationally recognized journals are required.

  • Good communication skills, both oral and written.

  • Demonstrate in the letter a particular enthusiasm.


Terms of employment: Salary will be in accordance with National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) guidelines. Currently, this is between $37,500-42,000/year depending on experience. 


Duration: One year with a possible extention for another two years.


Application procedure: Your application should be submitted electronically to and should include the following documents:

  • Motivated letter

  • Curriculum vitae, incl. education, experience

  • List of publications

  • Names and contact details for two referees


Deadline for application: Until filled

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