Department of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology
Umeå Plant Science Centre (UPSC) is one of the strongest research environments for basic plant research in Europe. Research at UPSC covers a wide range of disciplines in plant biology including ecology, genetics, physiology, biochemistry, cell biology and molecular biology (see Our common goal is to understand the plants ability to adapt and acclimate to a changing world. A PhD student position is open at the Department of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology, which is part of Umeå Plant Science Centre. We are looking for a highly motivated PhD student to work within the project “Molecular Regulation of Flowering and Phenology in Trees” in Professor Ove Nilsson’s research group at UPSC.

For more information about the Department of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology and UPSC visit

Project description
Two of the defining characteristics of trees are their extended juvenile phases, lasting many years, when they are uncapable of flowering, and their long lifespans which means that they in colder parts of the world have to survive extreme climatic differences between the seasons. They adapt to this by tightly controlling their phenology, i.e. when they stop growing, set bud and develop winter hardiness in the fall and when they flush their buds in the spring.
Research in the Nilsson lab has shown that these different aspects of the tree growth strategy is controlled by homologs of the Arabidopsis FT gene (Böhlenius et al, Science, 2006), which in other plants is central for the regulation of flowering time, being a major component of the elusive “Florigen” signal. The positions will continue to build on research on the function and regulation of FT/TFL1-like genes in trees, mainly in hybrid aspen trees, but also taking advantage of parallel work in Arabidopsis thaliana. The lab has already developed a large set of tools, including transgenic trees where most of the relevant genes affecting expression and function have been modulated through overexpression or down-regulation using RNA interference and CRISPR-Cas9 modification. The lab has also developed extensive genomic tools to study global gene expression changes in the relevant mutant backgrounds. The goal is to understand the mechanisms for how trees know when to flower, and how the exact timing for bud set and bud flush is determined

To be admitted for studies at third-cycle level the applicant is required to have completed a second-cycle level degree, or completed course requirements of at least 240 ECTS credits, of which at least 60 ECTS credits are at second-cycle level, or have an equivalent education from overseas, or equivalent qualifications. To fulfil the entry requirements the successful candidate also must have completed 90 ECTS credits with relevance to biology. Out of this, at least 15 ECTS credits has to be in a subject closely related to the research topic of the graduate program as well as an independent project work of at least 15 ECTS credits in an area relevant for the project.

We are looking for highly motivated PhD candidates eager to learn and willing to individually develop the project in cooperation with the research group.

Place of work:

Forms for funding or employment:
Employment 4 years

Starting date:
According to agreement

1) A personal letter describing yourself, your specific research interests and your reason for applying to this position
2) A curriculum vitae (CV)
3) A certified copy of grades and degree certificates
4) Copies of relevant work such as bachelor’s or master’s thesis or articles that you have authored or co-authored
5) Contact information of at least two references, familiar with the applicant’s qualifications

We welcome your application no later than 2019-06-30, use the link below.

Please observe that applicant/s chosen to participate in an interview shall hand in certified true copies of certificates, diplomas and transcripts from previous studies at an internationally recognized higher education institution (university or university college) and transcripts in connection to the interview. If the applicant is a foreign citizen we require a certified copy of the page in your passport with your personal data and photo.

Read about the PhD education at SLU at

Professor Ove Nilsson
Department of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology
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To apply for this position go to