Junior research scientist on complex mechanisms of adaptation to antifungals in plant pathogenic fungi


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INRAE presentation

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

The BIOGER Joint Research Unit develops multidisciplinary approaches (genomics, molecular biology, and biochemistry, cell biology, genetics, population genetics, evolution, epidemiology, modelling) at multiple scales (from gene to landscape) on fungal diseases of field crops of major agronomic importance. Our research generates both fundamental and operational scientific knowledge for the efficient and sustainable management of fungal diseases of field crops within the framework of the agroecological transition to minimize the use of pesticides while maintaining crop quality and yields. BIOGER is composed of 55 permanent staff and is divided into 4 research teams. It is located on the Saclay plateau and benefits from an exceptional scientific environment allowing fruitful interactions between many laboratories. You will join the "Antifungals, Mode of Action and Resistance" team, which develops multidisciplinary research on the adaptation of phytopathogenic fungi to antifungals, whether of biological, mineral, or synthetic origin. The evolution of resistance to antifungal agents is a preferred model to study the adaptation of organisms to environmental changes. It is observable at contemporary scales and the manipulation of selection pressures in the laboratory is easy to test hypotheses of adaptive evolution using experimental evolutionary approaches.

The unit also has considerable fungal, genetic, and genomic resources, as well as experimental containment infrastructures (laboratory and culture chambers), allowing the functional validation of the adaptation genes identified with the different quantitative genetics approaches. The results of this work also have direct applications: the prediction and management of this adaptive response is a major challenge in plant protection.

In this context, your research project will aim to identify the genomic basis of adaptation to antifungal drugs in the model plant pathogenic fungus Zymoseptoria tritici, the causal agent of septoria leaf blotch in wheat. More specifically, you will characterize the genetic architecture of complex adaptation mechanisms, particularly using GWAS approaches. Your project will complement the work of the team and the unit by (1) identifying new candidate genes for antifungal adaptation and characterizing their contribution to adapted phenotypes, and (2) providing an understanding of the compensatory genomic mechanisms of adaptation, maintaining the fitness of resistant variants. Within the team, you will also contribute to the development of genetic and genomic markers essential for monitoring the dynamics of adaptations in populations and for measuring the sustainability of multi-lever management strategies. You will also interact with the bioinformatics platform and the unit's researchers studying the adaptation of pathogens to biotic and abiotic selection pressures. The team of 5 researchers, engineers, and technicians will provide you with rich collections characterized for resistance to antifungal agents. You will also have at your disposal isogenic population lines of Z. tritici produced by experimental evolution under different selection regimes. Crossing and genetic transformation techniques of this filamentous fungus are mastered locally. Genomic resources and expertise in epigenetics are also available within the unit. Finally, the team has a large network of collaborations that allow it to collect population samples and study the molecular and biochemical features of the determinants resulting from your work, and transfer your research to users to provide support for the transition to more sustainable antifungals.

Training and skills

PhD or equivalent

Candidates must have a PhD or equivalent.
Training and experience in quantitative genetics, association genetics, or population genomics are highly recommended. Knowledge of plant pathology and/or microbiology and/or evolutionary biology would be appreciated.
Candidates should have a good command of English (both written and spoken), and long-term international experience would also be desirable. Successful candidates who have not yet acquired this experience abroad will be required to do so after their probationary period (1st year).

INRAE's life quality

By joining our teams, you benefit from:

- 30 days of annual leave + 15 days "Reduction of Working Time" (for a full time);
- parenting support: CESU childcare, leisure services;
- skills development systems: training, career advise;
- social support: advice and listening, social assistance and loans;
- holiday and leisure services: holiday vouchers, accommodation at preferential rates;
sports and cultural activities;
- collective catering.

For international scientists: please visit your guide to facilitate your arrival and stay at INRAE

Offer reference

  • Profile number: CR-2023-SPE-3
  • Corps: CRCN
  • Category: A
  • Open competition number: 32
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