January 2020

Postdoctoral Fellowship 2020/2021

RNAi – maize fungal pathogen

A Postdoctoral Fellowship is available in the research group of Prof Dave Berger at the University of Pretoria, South Africa.

Required Qualification: PhD in Plant Molecular Biology/Biotechnology, Genetics, Microbiology, Biochemistry, Bioinformatics or related field.

Preferred experience: An excellent track record in plant molecular biology or fungal genetics. Knowledge of current models of the molecular basis of plant disease resistance and  fungal pathogenicity. Good communication skills, a willingness to mentor postgraduate students and contribute to the improvement of maize, a staple diet for the people of Africa.

Description: The MPPI research group has an on-going research project on grey leaf spot (GLS) disease of maize caused by the fungal pathogen Cercospora zeina. GLS is a threat to food security in sub-Saharan Africa. We recently showed that C. zeina takes up external RNA and silences a GFP transgene in the fungus (Marais et al. 2019).

This well-funded Postdoc project aims (i) to develop an RNA fungicide against GLS using nanotechnology; and (ii) to use functional genomics tools to explore the molecular basis of RNAi in fungi using C. zeina as a model system.

Several tools have been developed for the project, namely a GFP-tagged C. zeina strain, a transformation system for C. zeina, a high quality PacBio genome sequence, in vitro and in planta RNAseq data, and a glasshouse inoculation system (Christie et al. 2017; Swart et al. 2017).

Prof Dave Berger is leader of the Molecular Plant-Pathogen Interactions (MPPI) Lab, Plant and Soil Sciences Department, Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI), Genomics Research Institute (GRI) at the University of Pretoria, South Africa.

The position is available immediately (January 2020-) for two years and will remain open until a suitable candidate is found (first closing date for applications: 18 January 2020). Please apply by forwarding a complete CV with contact details of three referees (including phone numbers and email addresses) to Prof. Dave Berger ( Applicants should clearly describe their expertise and verifiable publication outputs relevant to this position. Please note that unsuccessful applicants will not be contacted.

October 2019

Two Post Doctoral Fellowships


The Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI), based at the University of Pretoria, is a globally recognized center with research focused broadly on the health of plants and plant products. The institute also accounts for the fact that the University of Pretoria is listed as one of the world’s top five centers to study fungi.

FABI is happy to announce the availability of two post-doctoral research fellowships dedicated to the study of fungi. More specifically, the successful candidates will conduct research on the fungal genus Fusarium including pursuing questions relating to the taxonomy and evolutionary genomics of these fungi important to plant and human health. At FABI, the post-doctoral fellows will join a large and internationally recognized team of researchers working on a broad range of topics relating to Fusarium species.

The two post-doctoral fellows will work in close collaboration with colleagues at the Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute in the Netherlands. They will thus also have opportunities to engage closely with collaborators globally and to benefit from international science networking. Funding for the fellowships will be at a competitive level and dependent on the
experience and accomplishments of the incumbents.

Expressions of interest and applications should be addressed to Dr. Neriman Yilmaz.

Close Menu