Available opening for a postdoctoral fellowship in Poland

Organization Name / Department
University of Warsaw / Faculty of Biology, Department of Plant Anatomy and Cytology
Organization Type
Higher Education Institution
Research Fields
Life Sciences (LIF) Mathematics (MAT) Physics (PHY)
Sub-Fields / Keywords
plastid, chloroplast, thylakoid, membranes, nanomorphology, development, topology, triply periodic minimal surfaces, cubic membranes, modelling, electron microscopy
Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action(s) of interest
  • European Postdoctoral Fellowships
Short Description of the Organization / Department
The Department of Plant Anatomy and Cytology is a small scientific unit of the Faculty of Biology, University of Warsaw. Our currently performed basic science-type studies concern plant plastid biology with a focus on etioplast and chloroplast internal plastid membrane networks’ composition, function, and nanomorphology. In our research we use a set of biochemical, biophysical, molecular, as well as 2D/3D confocal and electron microscopy studies to understand the self-organization mechanisms leading to the formation of complicated cubic and lamellar-based membrane morphologies. We also try to understand geometrically constrained structural pathways driving membrane configuration transitions and develop new methods to understand highly period membrane arrangements by performing interdisciplinary study in collaboration with leading topology-focused scientific groups. Below you will find a list of our three key studies regarding abovementioned topics:

Kowalewska, Ł., Mazur, R., Suski, S., Garstka, M., & Mostowska, A. (2016). Three-Dimensional Visualization of the Tubular-Lamellar Transformation of the Internal Plastid Membrane Network during Runner Bean Chloroplast Biogenesis. The Plant cell, 28(4), 875–891. https://doi.org/10.1105/tpc.15.01053

Sandoval-Ibáñez, O., Sharma, A., Bykowski, M., Borràs-Gas, G., Behrendorff, J. B. Y. H., Mellor, S., Qvortrup, K., Verdonk, J. C., Bock, R., Kowalewska, Ł., & Pribil, M. (2021). Curvature thylakoid 1 proteins modulate prolamellar body morphology and promote organized thylakoid biogenesis in Arabidopsis thaliana. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 118(42), e2113934118. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2113934118

Hain, T. M., Bykowski, M., Saba, M., Evans, M. E., Schröder-Turk, G. E., & Kowalewska, Ł. (2022). SPIRE-a software tool for bicontinuous phase recognition: application for plastid cubic membranes. Plant physiology, 188(1), 81–96. https://doi.org/10.1093/plphys/kiab476

Previous Related Projects / Research Experience
2020-2024. Formation of cubic membrane arrangements in chloroplasts of angiosperms (National Science Centre, Grant No. 2019/35/D/NZ3/03904), PI dr Łucja Kowalewska, University of Warsaw

2017-2021. Regulation of LHCII antenna complex phosphorylation during dark chilling stress in chilling tolerant and chilling sensitive plant species (National Science Centre, Grant No. 2016/23/D/NZ3/01276), PI dr Radosław Mazur, University of Warsaw

2015-2018. Structural role of lipid membrane components in early stages of chloroplast biogenesis (National Science Centre, Grant No. 2014/13/B/NZ3/00413), PI prof. Agnieszka Mostowska, University of Warsaw

2010-2013. Chloroplast biogenesis – correlation of structure and function. (Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education, Grant No. N303 530438), PI prof. Agnieszka Mostowska, University of Warsaw

Thematic areas and list of supervisors who are looking forward to preparing a project proposal with postdoctoral researchers
thematic area: membrane nanomorphology – particularly, modelling pathways of plastid membrane structural transitions leading to the formation of helical arrangement of lamella-based grana stacks. For this area an interdisciplinary project combining experimental approach based on transmission electron microscopy and electron tomography with computational modelling is foreseen.

supervisor: Łucja Kowalewska; ORCID: 0000-0002-4090-6291; https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Lucja-Kowalewska; lucja.kowalewska@uw.edu.pl
ŁK is a plant cell biologist with an extensive experience in nanomorphological microscopy studies of plastid membrane network at different stages of its development. She is also experienced in conducting interdisciplinary projects, in which membrane structures are analyzed from the topological perspective.
Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the proposed thematic area, the co-supervisor with mathematical background will be involved to support the scholarship holder during the planned secondment.

Contact Person/ Position in the Organisation/ Phone/ E-mail
Please contact directly Łucja Kowalewska, assistant professor, lucja.kowalewska@uw.edu.pl
Necessary documents
1. CV (up to 3 pages),
2. brief description of the project idea (goal of the project, proposed methodology, motivation for choosing the institution and the host with regards to the career progression of the fellow – up to 3 pages)
3. description of the experience in geometric/topology modeling and your interest in conducting interdisciplinary study (up to 1 page) – for planning the successful project in the proposed thematic area, we are searching for the researcher with a mathematical background keen to develop the scientific interest into biological systems under the supervision of biologist.
3582€ (gross) / month
Our extra offer (if applicable)
  • Organisation awarded with the Human Resources Strategy for Research (HRS4R) label
  • Optional secondment
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