Post doc in new strategies of disease control for a sustainable agriculture

School of Engineering Sciences in Chemistry, Biotechnology and Health at KTH

Job description

You will work on a FetOpen project NOPEST ( that explores new solutions to counteract oomycete infections in commercial crops. The project aims to develop an environmentally friendly approach for crop protection as an alternative to conventional chemical pesticides.

Last application date: 2 July2021 - 11:59 PM CET

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Post-Doctoral position

The Post-Doctoral fellow chosen for this position will take part in the EU-funded FETOPEN Network NoPest. NoPEST gathers research groups with complementary skills and infrastructures from five universities based in four EU countries and the associated state Israel together with SIPCAMOXON, a global company specialized in the synthesis, formulation and commercialization of active ingredients and (bio)chemicals for agriculture.

ORGANISATION: Université Paris Saclay (France)

RESEARCH FIELD: Organic Chemistry - Peptide Chemistry

APPLICATION DEADLINE: 20/02/2021 23:00 - Europe/Brussels


Objective of NoPest : Members of the oomycete phylum represent highly problematic crop pathogens and a threat for global food security. For instance, P. infestans is the agent of potato late blight, and P. viticola of grapevine downy mildew. Oomycete infections are currently controlled by frequent applications of copper-based compounds, but the massive use of these compounds leads to pollution, residual toxicity and adverse effects on human health. The discovery of innocuous and reliable alternatives to traditional inorganic fungicides remains challenging and has been set as a high priority by EU and other countries. NoPest aims to develop an environmentally friendly approach for crop protection as an alternative to conventional chemical pesticides. The strategy, inspired by medical and pharmaceutical research, relies on peptide aptamers to counteract oomycetes infections by i) identifying small peptides (linear/cyclic peptide aptamers) that inhibit vital enzymes involved in oomycete cell wall formation and cell stability; ii) optimizing aptamer efficiency through peptidomimetics designed for field applications; iii) searching, using chemo-informatics approaches, for non-peptide small molecules that mimic the activity of aptamers.
These objectives will be addressed by selecting peptide aptamers from combinatorial libraries, based on their affinity and specificity for selected protein targets. Key benefits will be i) low probability to select resistant oomycete strains and no risk of co-selection of bacteria resistant to heavy metals; ii) no impact on animal and human health; iii) low environmental impact, as the approach is based on peptides that consist of natural amino-acids; iv) potential to develop additional products that confer antimicrobial resistance to any crop pathogen. Furthermore, in order to make the new molecules competitive in the pesticide market, precision farming non-invasive sensing tools will be developed, leading to reduced pesticide usage for field treatments.

PostDoc fellow (expired)

Department of Biosciences, Università degli Studi di Milano, Milano, Italy

Project title: Novel Pesticides for a Sustainable Agriculture

A 2-year position for one post-doc fellow is available in Spring 2020 in the Department of Biosciences - Università degli Studi di Milano- in the laboratory of Prof. Simona Masiero.

Research will focus on the development of combinatorial libraries to isolate peptides suitable for protein interference application. These libraries will be used to isolate peptides able to prevent plant pathogen attacks.

The project is highly multidisciplinary including biochemistry, proteomics, cellular and molecular biology, and advanced live-cell imaging.

Candidates for the position must have a Ph.D. in plant biology and a strong background in cellular and molecular biology.

Experience in plant biochemistry is desirable.

Application Instructions: Please submit a brief description of research experience, curriculum vitae and the names and contact information of two references to:

Prof. Simona Masiero (email