Postdoctoral Position in Plant-Pathogen Coevolution

The McCann Lab is looking for a postdoctoral researcher to investigate plant-pathogen coevolutionary interactions in field and laboratory settings. The emergence and spread of plant pathogens can have devastating consequences for agricultural economies. Our team seeks to understand the processes driving disease emergence and how pathogens evolve in wild and agricultural environments.


The primary aim of this project is to integrate pathogen population genomics with plant resistance gene sequencing to examine how natural plant populations coevolve with bacterial pathogens. The postdoctoral fellow will use genomic and transcriptomic techniques in both laboratory and field contexts, and take a leading role in analysing next-gen sequencing data and preparing manuscripts for publication. The successful applicant will also have the opportunity to participate in ongoing collaborations and develop new projects according to their strengths and interests. Although the primary responsibility of this position is research, the postdoc will also assist with the supervision of junior researchers.


Candidates must have a PhD in microbiology, molecular biology, molecular plant pathology or a related subject. Demonstrable experience with next-gen sequencing methods and analysis is required. Experience in microbial genetics, molecular biology and/or molecular plant-microbe interactions is a valuable asset for this position. Experience with field work is beneficial but not required. Excellent written and verbal communication skills are essential, as is the ability to work harmoniously in a collaborative environment.

Work at the Institute

This position is based at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen. Research at this institute extends from development to evolution, molecular to structural biology, using model systems including plants, algae, nematodes and microbes. We offer plant growth and biosecurity containment facilities suitable for work with plant pathogens, and central facilities that include genome and microscopy centres. The successful applicant will join a dynamic, interdisciplinary research institute, with opportunities to interact with colleagues at neighbouring Max Planck institutes (Friedrich Miescher Laboratory, MPI for Biological Cybernetics and MPI for Intelligent Systems) as well as the University of Tübingen.

Life in Tübingen

Tübingen is a university town in southern Germany with a large student population, lively and historic city centre and proximity to many outdoor recreation destinations. There are typically festivals and cultural activities throughout the year. The city is very walkable, and has plenty of cycling paths and a good public transportation network. The institute is located 15 minutes by bus from the city centre. Tübingen is a great location for outdoor enthusiasts, with many hiking, cycling and skiing opportunities in the area. Direct flights from the closest airport (Stuttgart) connect residents to destinations across Europe, West Asia and North Africa.


The position is on offer from May 1, 2021. The successful candidate will be offered an initial contract of 2 years that may be extended. Salary and benefits are set according to the German TVöD regulations (TVöD Bund). The Max Planck Society is an inclusive, equal opportunity employer. Individuals with disabilities will be given priority, assuming equal qualifications, and are thus encouraged to apply. The Max Planck Society seeks to increase the number of women in those areas where they are underrepresented and therefore also explicitly encourages women to apply.


To apply, please send the following material in PDF format to Dr. Honour McCann (honour.mccann(at) with 'AG-McCann Postdoc' in the subject line:

  1. A cover letter describing your interest in this position, highlighting relevant experience (2 pages max).
  2. A detailed CV including contact details for three potential referees.

Review of applications will begin April 19, and will continue until the position is filled.