A two year post-doctoral fellowship is available in the Verger group at the Department of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology, part of Umeå Plant Science Centre.

We are looking for a highly motivated postdoc to study the mechanisms of wood fiber elongation by intrusive growth in poplar, starting from March 2020.

Last day to apply: 15 January 2020

Project description:

During wood formation in angiosperm species, fiber cells that make up most of the wood, elongate using a very particular and still largely elusive mechanism called intrusive growth. The tips of these cells grow intrusively between the above and below adjacent cells leading to a 150 - 400% increase in length during wood formation. While most plant tissues grow in a symplastic manner, wood formation

in angiosperms represent a particularly interesting case of tissue growth involving cell separation and re-adhesion that ultimately contribute to the strengthening of the tissue.

Here we will investigate the mechanisms of wood fiber elongation by intrusive growth using a combination of classical genetic perturbations (cell wall, cell adhesion, mechanosensing), live imaging of elongating fibers and micromechanical analysis of the tissue properties using tools such as Atomic Force Microscopy and micro-extensometers, in the tree model species poplar.

The long term goal of this project is to unravel the mechanisms that allow fiber intrusive growth in the wood, understand how this specific growth pattern contributes to overall mechanical properties of the wood and generate genetic tools which can be used by tree breeders to improve fiber and wood quality.



The successful candidate must have obtained a doctoral degree in molecular, cell or developmental biology, or related disciplines, no longer than 3 years ago.

The applicant should have a strong interest for biophysics and cell wall biology, a strong background in molecular biology, and some experience with microscopy. Experience studying wood growth and development and working with Poplar will be strongly appreciated.

Furthermore, good oral and writing skills in English are essential qualifications. The successful candidate is expected to have good social skills and the ability to do research independently, as well as in a team.


Umeå Plant Science Centre (UPSC http://www.upsc.se/) is a centre of experimental plant biology in Umeå, Sweden. UPSC provides excellent facilities for experimental plant science. There are about 200 persons from 40 different countries working at UPSC. Umeå is a vibrant university town and the cultural capital of northern Sweden with good access to Stockholm and the rest of the world. Umeå also provides close access to outdoor activities such as skiing, hiking, kayaking, etc.


Interested applicants should send a CV, a motivation letter (1 page max.), a summary of previous research achievements (1 page max.) and names of 3 referees to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


We welcome your application no later than 15.01.2020

For more information contact Stéphane Verger (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)