Junior research scientist in plant-insect molecular interactions

35650 LE RHEU

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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

You will join the Institute of Genetics, Environment, and Plant Protection (UMR IGEPP INRAE, Agro Institute, University of Rennes 1), a joint research unit that investigates interactions between cultivated plants and their parasites, as well as the responses of plants to abiotic stresses to contribute to the development of sustainable plant production systems. In the current context of pesticide reduction policies, it is imperative to develop sustainable strategies to control insect pests such as aphids. Aphids are major crop pests and disease vectors and the use of plants that are resistant or tolerant to these insects is an alternative to insecticides. However, very few teams study the molecular and genetic determinants of plant-insect interactions, research that is nevertheless essential for plant breeding. Close collaboration between IGEPP scientists has enabled the construction of a research program aimed at characterizing the genetic and molecular determinants of interactions between legumes and aphids. This work has allowed the identification of a resistance QTL in peas against the pea aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum. However, legumes are attacked by a range of specialist or generalist aphids, which raises questions about the specificity of plant defense mechanisms and insect virulence.

To start your project, you will rely on phenotyping systems and available genetic resources to identify plant defense pathways and genetic factors involved in interactions with aphids. You will initiate your project on legume-aphid interactions by taking advantage of the numerous genetic and genomic resources produced by INRAE on this system. You will set up comparative approaches on different species of legumes and associated aphids, to test if there are common molecular and genetic bases of defense and offense between these different interactions. You will benefit from a favorable and stimulating scientific environment provided in particular by the close collaborations between entomologists and plant geneticists at IGEPP on legume-Acyrthosiphon pisum interactions (GWAS, transcriptomics, silencing, and transient gene expression in peas, CRISPR-Cas9 on aphids), but also by specialists in the chemical ecology of plant-insect interactions and other researchers working on plant-pathogen interactions. You will also benefit from a large network of national and international collaborations established by the host team on plant-aphid interactions. You will have the opportunity to extend your research to interactions between brassicas and aphids, in collaboration with the geneticists of the IGEPP. Technical support in biological and molecular experiments and bioinformatics will also be provided.

Benefiting from the strong expertise of IGEPP on plant-parasite interactions and the genetic resources and other means of the unit, you will reinforce the recognition of INRAE teams in the important field of plant-insect interactions.

Experiments in a confined environment

Training and skills

PhD or equivalent

Candidates must have a PhD or equivalent
A strong background in genetics and molecular biology is essential. Research experience in molecular host-parasite interactions would be desirable. Expertise in the processing of large datasets (GWAS, RNAseq) would be an asset.
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).

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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-6
  • Corps: CRCN
  • Category: A
  • Open competition number: 31
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