Junior Research Scientist on the exploitation of phytocytokines as new biocontrol strategies.


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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 Institute of Research in Horticulture and Seed (IRHS) is a joint research unit managed by INRAE, the Institut Agro Rennes-Angers and the University of Angers. With more than 250 staff, the institute integrates expertise in genetics, genomics and epigenomics, physiology and ecophysiology, biochemistry, phytopathology, microbiology, modeling, bioinformatics, biostatistics and biophysics, to serve the quality and health of horticultural species and seed production.

You will be working at the interface of the BIDEFI (BioInformatics for plant DEFense Investigation) and RESPOM (RESistance of POMoideae to pests) teams of IRHS to take advantage of the complementary approaches developed by these two teams. The BIDEFI team combines skills in IT development, structural genomics, genome evolution and transcriptome analysis. The RESPOM team has expertise in genetics, pathology and ecophysiology. You will also benefit from the IRHS's platforms (cytology, genomics, metabolomics-fluxomics and high-throughput phenotyping) and research facilities (greenhouses, computer servers), as well as from the network of national and international collaborations set up around the proposed research theme.

Plant genomes contain over a thousand genes predicted to encode secreted peptide precursors. Their small size, diversity and complex maturation processes explain why their functions are still largely unknown. The minority characterized so far has key roles in regulation of defense pathways and/or development (PSK, CLE, PIP, SCOOP...). Based on an iterative prediction/validation approach already proven successful in our laboratory (discovery and characterization of SCOOP peptides), the aim of your project will be to explore this largely unknown gene space to discover new phytocytokines involved in responses to biotic stresses, potential sources of new plant resistance inducers (PRI), particularly in pomoid species. Candidate genes identified by bioinformatics and transcriptome profiling will be validated experimentally by exogenous application of synthetic peptides (pharmacological approach) on apple plantlets to study their protective effect against major apple pests and their ability to elicit defenses. This functional approach will also involve the analysis of mutant plants and genetic diversity. The project is part of the INRAE SuMCrop Metaprogram (Sustainable Management of Crop Health) since it aims to better understand the plant defense and adaptation processes. While phytocytokines are potential biocontrol solutions, the molecular players involved in their maturation (subtilases, etc.) and recognition (receptors, etc.) are also levers that could be used in plant breeding, opening up new opportunities for sustainable crop management.

Training and skills

PhD or equivalent

The application is open to PhD holders (or equivalent).

Candidates should have a background in functional genomics and genetics and plant developmental biology, and an interest in multidisciplinary approaches. Sound knowledge and skills in transcriptomics, biotic stress physiology and/or biochemistry are expected.
Fluency in English and a long-term international experience are desirable: the recruited candidates without such experience will be required to spend a year abroad during the internship 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

All persons employed by or hosted at INRAE, a public research establishment, are subject to its internal regulations, particularly with regard to the obligation of neutrality and respect for the principle of secularism. In carrying out their functions, whether or not they are in contact with the public, they must not express their religious, philosophical or political convictions through their behaviour or by what they wear.  

Offer reference

  • Profile number: CR-2024-BAP-5
  • Corps: CR
  • Category: A
  • Open competition number: 13
Living in France and working at INRAE Our guide for international scientists

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