Postdoc­toral Re­search­er, The Centre of Ex­cel­lence in Tree­bio­logy

Helsinki, Finland
26 Jan 2022
End of advertisement period
25 Feb 2022
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

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 opportunities for professional development.

The Centre of Excellence in Tree Biology ( brings together ten PIs from the University of Helsinki (UH) and two from the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), who together with a large network of international collaborators form a multidisciplinary team of experts in plant genetics, physiology and computational modelling of whole tree physiology. TreeBio is funded by the Academy of Finland to provide for an exceptional centre of excellence focused on studying carbon sequestration in trees as a holistic, physiological process, and to provide detailed molecular and genomic information for breeding birch as a better carbon sink. The research programme is situated in the Viikki Biocentre (VB) of UH, which is the largest concentration of molecular plant biology in Finland, comparable to the best research centres abroad. The VB has exceptional research facilities, including state-of-the-art core facilities such as several next generation sequencing platforms, plant growth chambers, greenhouses, and a high-throughput plant phenotyping facility.

The Centre of Excellence in Tree Biology invites applications for

9 POSTDOCTORAL RESEARCHER POSITIONS in the following research projects

  • Project 1: Stomatal function and vascular connections. The project aims at molecular-level understanding of guard cell signalling and function in response to environmental stimuli. We will also address molecular connections between stomatal regulation and vascular function (e.g., water transport, systemic signals). We will utilize proteomics, biochemical and molecular genetics approaches in Arabidopsis and physiological measurements of stomatal and vascular parameters in Arabidopsis and trees. Supervisors: Kangasjärvi, Sierla, Shapiguzov, Waszczak
  • Project 2: Stomatal developmental plasticity. The aim of the project is to identify molecular mechanisms controlling stomatal plasticity in Arabidopsis and trees and to unravel how signal integration between pathways mediating environmental information defines stomatal numbers. Supervisors: Vatén, Mähönen
  • Project 3: The role of energy metabolism in carbon source effects. The project aims at: (i) dissecting metabolic and signalling interactions between chloroplasts and mitochondria and (ii) developing new methods for phenotyping photosynthesis and respiration (including advanced chlorophyll fluorometry, gas exchange and oxygen microsensor approaches). Supervisors: Kangasjärvi, Shapiguzov, Sierla
  • Project 4: Morphogenesis and functionality of phloem. Following our extensive previous work of phloem development, we are taking various genetic and molecular approaches to deepen our understanding of phloem at cellular and functional levels. Supervisors: Helariutta, Mähönen, Hölttä, Sierla
  • Project 5: Cambial factors. Guided with a comparative single cell transcriptome analysis of Arabidopsis, birch and poplar cambia, the aim in this project is to identify through molecular genetics key loci driving enhanced growth and carbon sink in trees. Supervisors: Mähönen, Kucukoglu-Topcu
  • Project 6: Source-sink. By combining computational modelling and experimentation, in this project, we will explore how mutations affecting function of stomata, conductive tissue or cambium and thus, consequently, carbon sequestration in wood, will potentially feedback to each other, and to other aspects in tree physiology. Supervisors: Hölttä, Mähönen, Kucukoglu-Topcu
  • Project 7: Distribution and role of open chromatin in silver birch and Scots pine genomes. Open chromatin sequencing (ATAC-seq) allows identification of regulatory active regions of the genome. In this project, the aim is to study regulatory genomic regions in conjunction with gene expression and population genetic data from both functional genetics and/or evolutionary point of view depending on the interests of the candidate. Supervisors: Pyhäjärvi, Salojärvi
  • Project 8: Population genomic studies in silver birch. The CoE, together with the other projects associated with it, will generate a massive amount of whole genome sequencing data from birch populations across Eurasia. Phenotype information will be available for a set of families from a common garden experiment as well as from a high-throughput phenotyping platform. The data allows studies on demography, gene flow and local adaptation, and facilitates identification of genotype-phenotype associations. Based on the interests of the candidate the project can involve also a component of methods development for general population-level inference. Supervisors: Salojärvi and Pyhäjärvi
  • Project 9: Genomic breeding. By combining our understanding of physiology and genetics in both trees and Arabidopsis with the phenotypic and genomic data of the current silver birch breeding population in Finland, our aim is to develop a model for genomic breeding in this economically highly important boreal tree species. Supervisors: Nieminen, Pyhäjärvi, Salojärvi

The postdoctoral researchers will be employed full-time for a fixed term of 2-3 years in one of the CoE research groups with possibility of extension. The earliest starting date is 1 April 2022.

We seek candidates who have completed a PhD in genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry, (bio)physics, plant biology or computational biology. Previous experience with plants/trees is beneficial but not necessary. In addition, the candidates shall have excellent written and verbal communicational skills, and the ability to think independently and creatively. They should be able to conceive, execute and complete research projects both independently and in a team. The post-docs will work as a part of a team at the CoE where high level of collaboration on local and international level will be practiced. Overall, excellent communication skills are required for extensive collaborations. The background and interests of the successful candidates will determine their specific lines of research within the CoE.

For general information, contact the CoE Coordinator Karolina Blajecka:

For science related questions, contact the CoE PIs:
Ykä Helariutta (, Jaakko Kangasjärvi (, Ari Pekka Mähönen (, Teemu Hölttä (, Tanja Pyhäjärvi (, Jarkko Salojärvi (, Kaisa Nieminen (, Alexey Shapiguzov (, Melis Kucukoglu-Topcu (, Maija Sierla (, Cezary Waszczak (, Anne Vatén (

The salary will be based on level 5 of the demands level chart for teaching and research personnel in the salary system of Finnish universities. In addition, the appointee will be paid a salary component based on personal performance. The starting salary will be ca. 3300 - 3800 euros/month, depending on the appointee’s qualifications and experience. The successful candidate will be employed at the Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences or Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry depending on the research project. The International Staff Services office ( assists employees from abroad with their transition to work and life in Finland. To learn more about what the University of Helsinki has to offer please visit this site

Application should include the following documents as a single pdf file: Motivation Letter (max 1 page) and CV (max 2 pages). Include also contact information of two persons who can provide a reference letter based on request. Please upload only one Motivation Letter (as part of a single pdf) during the application process. Start your letter from specifying which project(s) listed above you are interested in and why.

Please submit your application using the University of Helsinki Recruitment System via the Apply link. Applicants who are employees of the University of Helsinki are requested to leave their application via the SAP HR portal. The deadline for submitting the application is 25 February 2022. Updates on the recruitment process will be posted in the News section of the CoE website (

Due date

25.02.2022 23:59 EET

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