New Post-doc position available for LegumePlus

University of Turku, Finland

Post-doc position in chemical ecology of polyphenols in the Salminen lab: 
“Evolution and global distribution of plant polyphenol-based pro-oxidant defenses”

Polyphenols are a group of specialized metabolites that are produced by practically all global plant species. One of the most important polyphenol functions is their ability to serve as plants’ chemical defense against e.g. herbivorous insects. However, the true mechanisms responsible for the polyphenol activities have been a target of ongoing debate. One of the most apparent types of defense mechanisms – polyphenol oxidation triggered by either high gut pH or plant oxidase enzymes – has received only a little attention. Thus we have a gap in our knowledge of (1) what are the active (or inactive) pro-oxidant polyphenols, (2) how are the pro-oxidant polyphenols (and pro-oxidant activity) distributed in the plant kingdom, and (3) how are the pro-oxidant polyphenol molecules and pro-oxidant activity evolved in ecologically relevant families and genus.

The post-doc will be part of the Natural Chemistry Research Group working in the Salminen lab (Laboratory of Organic Chemistry and Chemical Biology, University of Turku, Finland). The lab is equipped with the latest high-quality instruments needed for the modern studies of chemical ecology. Recently, the Salminen lab has created a UPLC-MS/MS based method that is able to (1) reveal all the polyphenol classes, (2) quantify the individual polyphenols and (3) reveal and quantify the individual pro-oxidant polyphenols (active and inactive ones) present in any plant species or sample. This method is currently being used to reveal the individual pro-oxidant polyphenols present in more than 1500 plant species that have been collected around the globe and distributed along the plant tree of life. A special emphasis is given for ecologically relevant species of Oenothera, Quercus and Eucalypts, to reveal both the micro- and 
macroevolution of polyphenol-based pro-oxidant defences in plants. The post-doc will join this exciting and challenging task, and will coordinate the data production and handling. The project will involve interdisciplinary collaborations with leadings scientists from around the globe and the post-doc may visit 
their labs either in Cornell University (New York, USA), University of Toronto (Toronto, Canada) or Australian National University (Canberra, Australia). He/she will be able to boost his/her career by writing many high-quality papers related to e.g. (1) the polyphenol oxidation hypothesis, (2) the micro- and acroevolution of polyphenol-based pro-oxidant defences, (3) the latitudinal herbivore defence hypothesis, and (4) methodology related to these advanced chemical ecology techniques.

We are seeking a highly motivated, team-oriented post-doc with a strong interest in chemical ecology, chemistry and plant-herbivore interactions. Applicants should hold a PhD (chemistry, chemical ecology or equivalent) and must have a proven experience in the field of chemical ecology, both in the lab work and 
writing of scientific papers. Experience with chemical methods such as LC, LC-MS, 96-well plate reader and/or any other methods related to polyphenol chemistry would be highly beneficial. Knowledge of statistical methods and the ability to handle large data sets will be beneficial as well. Good knowledge of 
spoken and written English is required.

The position will start in September 2012 at the earliest. The position will be for a maximum of four years, but could be filled for a shorter period, if needed. The salary is fixed according to the guidelines of the University of Turku for teaching and research personnel at the level 4-6. The mobility of a foreign post-doc 
may be enhanced by an additional mobility grant.

Deadline: July 15, 2012. To apply, send a cover letter explaining your interest in this position, a complete academic record, CV and addresses of 2-3 potential academic referees to: prof. Juha-Pekka Salminen (

Post-doc position available

Post-doc position available