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Job ID: 214905

Postdoctoral Researcher in Plant Root Biomechanics
Aalto University

Date Posted Jun. 8, 2023
Title Postdoctoral Researcher in Plant Root Biomechanics
University Aalto University
, Finland
Department T304 Dept. Applied Physics
Application Deadline Open until filled
Position Start Date Available immediately
  • Post-Doc
  • Physics - General
Aalto University is where science and art meet technology and business. We shape a sustainable future by making research breakthroughs in and across our disciplines, sparking the game changers of tomorrow and creating novel solutions to major global challenges. Our community is made up of 13 000 students, 400 professors and close to 4 500 other faculty and staff working on our dynamic campus in Espoo, Greater Helsinki, Finland. Diversity is part of who we are, and we actively work to ensure our community’s diversity and inclusiveness. This is why we warmly encourage qualified candidates from all backgrounds to join our community.
The Department of Applied Physics is now looking for a

Postdoctoral researcher in plant root biomechanics
A postdoctoral researcher position is available in the Living Matter group of Prof. Matilda Backholm at the Department of Applied Physics at Aalto University. Our research focuses on developing new cutting-edge techniques to probe the forces and flow in living systems, such as microscopic swimming organisms and actively growing plant roots. Our research is interdisciplinary and curiosity-driven, and we work in an inclusive and collaborative manner.

Your role and goals
As a postdoc in our team, you would build a new experimental tool to probe the micromechanical properties of tiny living plant roots. You would be trained to integrate the micropipette force sensor technique (Backholm et al., Nature Protocols (2019)) with a confocal microscope. You would then perform state-of-the-art experiments on the biomechanics and growth dynamics of microscopic plant roots with a focus on understanding the internal cellular response during the force experiments. We will collaborate with industry to reach impactful results. In parallel with your experimental work, you might develop your own theoretical models to describe your experimental findings. You will be expected to take charge of your own research project, conduct your work with high scientific quality, and actively communicate your problems and scientific findings with the rest of the team. We help each other to succeed in making exciting new scientific discoveries.

Your experience and ambitions
It is important that you can work both independently and as a member of a multidisciplinary and diverse team. The working language of the group is English, and we expect all our team members to have strong written and oral English skills to ensure efficient communication and collaboration. Finnish language is not required.

Other requirements:​​
  • A doctoral degree in Physics. Other backgrounds, such as a PhD in Biology, Materials Science, and Engineering will also be considered, but then a strong interest in physics is expected.
  • Hands-on experience of experimental work and using, e.g., MATLAB for image analysis.

These backgrounds are considered a plus:
  • Experience in biological or soft matter physics research.
  • Experience in independently using confocal microscopy.
  • Experience in handling plants and/or plant roots.
  • Experience in developing analytical or numerical mechanical models.

What we offer
We offer an interdisciplinary and dynamic working environment with a strong focus on curiosity-driven research. You will be trained in performing advanced experimental research and developing theoretical models to describe the core physics of the system. You will be encouraged to build your own scientific reputation by networking with our national and international collaborators and by participating in conferences to present your results. This position will also give you more general skill sets, such as critical thinking, problem solving, and communication of complicated topics in a clear and intriguing manner. The core values of the Living Matter group are inclusion, equality, and collaboration. We value work-life balance and the mental wellbeing of all team members. Please see for more details about the group.

The fixed term contract is initially for 2 years with a possibility for extension. The annual workload of research and teaching staff at Aalto University is currently 1612 hours. Aalto University follows the salary system of Finnish universities. The salary for a postdoc ranges from 3800€ to 4300€ per month, depending on previous experience. The contract includes Aalto University occupational healthcare.

The primary workplace will be the Otaniemi Campus at Aalto University.
Ready to apply?

To apply for the position, please submit your application including the attachments mentioned below as one single PDF document in English through our online recruitment system by using the link on Aalto University’s web page ("Apply Now”).

(1)   Letter of motivation (including information on the above listed requirements for the position)
(2)   CV including a list of publications
(3)   Degree certificates and academic transcripts
(4)   Contact details of at least two referees (or letters of recommendation, if already available) 

The deadline for the applications is July 31, 2023.We will go through applications, and we may invite suitable candidates to interview already during the application period. The position will be filled as soon as a suitable candidate is identified. For additional information, kindly contact Prof. Backholm (matilda.backholm (at) Aalto University reserves the right for justified reasons to leave the position open, to extend the application period, reopen the application process, and to consider candidates who have not submitted applications during the application period.

Please note: Aalto University’s employees and visitors should apply for the position via our internal system Workday -> find jobs (not external webpage on open positions) by using their existing Workday user account.

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