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Helsinki Institute of Life Science (HiLIFE) - Institute of Biotechnology (BI), located in the Viikki science park, is a research institute at the University of Helsinki, The institute harbors ~35 research groups and 250 researchers and comprehensive core facilities for molecular, biochemical and cell biological research. HiLIFE operates at the highest international level.

Newly established research group of Academy Research Fellow Anne Vatén at HiLIFE invites applications for a


in plant molecular biology to study stomatal development and its regulation by complex environmental variables.

Stomata are small sealable epidermal pores which regulate gas-exchange between the plant and its environment. Stomata form as a result of regulated asymmetric divisions of stomatal precursor cells called meristemoids. We revealed that meristemoid divisions are controlled by a feedback loop consisting of stomatal master regulator and hormone signaling pathway and this feedback loop is required for fine-tuned stomatal numbers. This project aims to investigate the function of this feedback loop upon environmental changes, identify what are the other pathways modulating stomata production during environmental fluctuations, and reveal, how signal integration between various pathways is executed to achieve tightly regulated stomatal numbers. Moreover, this project studies stomatal development and plasticity in gymnosperms by using Norway spruce (Picea abies) as a model.

We are looking for a highly-motivated candidate with a masters degree or related degree in biology, biochemistry or other relevant field. Experience in molecular plant sciences is considered an advantage and strong interest in developmental biology and molecular plant sciences is essential. We expect the candidate to be able to plan and conduct research independently and accurately after initial training and to have excellent written and verbal communication skills in English. The candidate should work well in a team as she/he will be integrated into an international research team of experts in plant developmental biology and participate in collaborations.

PhD degree consists of the student’s research project and studies specific to the research field, as well as transferable skills training. The appointee is expected to work full time on the PhD thesis and to complete their thesis and the associated studies in four years. The appointee will become a member of the Doctoral Programme in Plant Sciences, which will provide training, guidance and a community of PhD students ( The appointee should either already have the right to pursue a doctoral degree at the University of Helsinki by the start of the appointment, or apply for the right and obtain it within the probationary period of six months of their appointment. If the candidate does not already have the right to pursue a doctoral degree at the University of Helsinki, it must be applied for separately, please see:
The doctoral student position is initially limited to 2 years with a possibility of extension. A trial period of 6 months will be applied, and the salary will be based on the University salary scheme for teaching and research personnel composed of both task specific and personal performance components.

Application should include the following documents as a single pdf file:
• CV
• list of publications
• motivation letter including a description of your research interests
• contact information of two persons who can provide a reference letter based on request

Please submit your application, together with the required attachments, through the University of Helsinki electronic recruitment system by clicking the “Apply for the position” - link below. Applicants employed by the University of Helsinki must submit their application through the SAP HR portal.

The deadline for the applications is 15th of August 2021.

For more information, please contact the principal investigator Dr Anne Vaten: anne.vaten(at)
For technical support regarding the recruitment system, please contact

Vatén A, Bergmann DC. Mechanisms of stomatal development: an evolutionary view. EvoDevo (2012) 3: 11

Vatén A, Soyars CL, Tarr PT, Nimchuk ZL, Bergmann DC. “Modulation of asymmetric division diversity through cytokinin and SPEECHLESS regulatory interactions in the Arabidopsis stomatal lineage” Developmental Cell (2018) 47: 53-66

Lopez-Anido CB, Vatén A, Smoot NK, Sharma N, Guo V, Gong Y, Anleu Gil MX, Weimer AK, Bergmann DC. Single-cell resolution of lineage trajectories in the Arabidopsis stomatal lineage and developing leaf” Developmental Cell (2021) 56: 1043-1055

Finland is a member of the EU, has high quality free schooling (also in English), generous family benefits and healthcare, and was recently ranked as the best country in the world for expat families and in the world’s top ten most livable cities. Finland and the Helsinki region possess top expertise in sciences in terms of a vibrant talent pool, leading research, strong support services and functioning collaboration networks. For more information about working at the University of Helsinki and living in Finland, please see
Helsinki Institute of Life Science (HiLIFE) is a new institute established in 2017 that supports high quality life science research across the University campuses and faculties. HiLIFE builds on existing strengths and new recruits and partnerships to create an attractive international environment for researchers to solve grand challenges in health, food, and environment. HiLIFE coordinates research infrastructures in life sciences and provides research-based interdisciplinary training. The Viikki Plant Science Centre (ViPS) offers a stimulating high impact research environment for plant biologists (

The University of Helsinki, founded in 1640, is one of the world’s leading universities for multidisciplinary research. The university has an international academic community of 40,000 students and staff members. The University of Helsinki offers comprehensive services to its employees, including occupational health care and health insurance, sports facilities, and professional development opportunities. The International Staff Services office assists employees from abroad with their transition to work and life in Finland.

Due date

15.08.2021 23:59 EEST


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