Department of Plant Biology

The department has approximately 80 employees and conducts research on plant developmental biology, diversity and defence. It is part of Uppsala BioCentre (, which provides an excellent research environment combining competencies in plant biology, forest mycology and plant pathology, microbiology, food science, chemistry and biotechnology. The department is also part of the Linnean Center for Plant Biology in Uppsala (, a platform for interactions between plant researchers at SLU and Uppsala University.

MariboHilleshög is based in Sweden and Denmark, and has more than 100 years of experience in research and breeding of sugar beet. MariboHilleshög in its present constellation was started in 2017 and is today a strategic business unit within DLF, a global seeds company with its headquarters in Denmark and 1150 employees in more than 20 countries. Around 300 employees are working in the unit that is dedicated to breeding, seed production and marketing of sugar beets. Landskrona is the centre for the research and development part of MariboHilleshög with around 80 employees (13 of these are in Falkenberg). The brands Maribo and Hilleshög are sold separately in more than 35 countries.

Resistance to virus yellows in sugar beet


Virus yellows is a disease of sugar beets that is caused by several aphid-transmitted viruses. For a long time, virus yellows has been managed through aphid control with insecticides, but access to virus-resistant cultivars of sugar beet would be an important part of sustainable disease management.

The PhD student will work with the characterization of plant material with resistance to virus yellows, both for studies on resistance mechanisms and for mapping of resistance genes. The project encompasses the handling of plants, aphids and viruses as well as molecular lab analyses and computer analyses.

The PhD project will be carried out in close collaboration between SLU and MariboHilleshög, located in Landskrona and where parts of the work will be carried out. The project is part of a larger effort by SLU Grogrund for breeding of disease-resistant Swedish crops, and at SLU, the project is run within the Plant Virology group in Uppsala under the direction of Prof. Anders Kvarnheden and at MariboHilleshög by Dr Thomas Kraft.

A doctoral student should primarily devote himself to the postgraduate education. However, a doctoral student gets a limited extensive work on education, research and administration. Such work may, before the doctoral degree has been completed, not cover more than 20 percent of full working hours. An employment as a doctoral student is extended by one year at the time and the total period of employment corresponds to full-time post graduate education for four years. 


Applicants should have a master's degree equivalent to at least 240 higher education credits in biology or a corresponding area. Written and oral proficiency in English is required. Documented experience in molecular plant analyses is meriting as well as knowledge in plant breeding and plant-microbe interactions. Great importance is also attached to personal qualities such as the ability to communicate and collaborate as well as ability to analyze and to work independently. Applicants should be able to have the work placed at different locations (Uppsala and Landskrona).

Place of work:      

Uppsala och Landskrona

Forms for funding or employment:

Employment as a PhD student (4 years)

Starting date:

According to agreement.


We welcome your application no later than 2019-09-01, use the button below.

A person has basic eligibility for third cycle education if he or she has taken a second cycle qualification or has completed course requirements of at least 240 higher education credits, including at least 60 higher education credits at second cycle education. Upper secondary school grades equivalent to English B/English 6 are a basic requirement.

Selection among applicants meeting the requirements is made with reference to written application including curriculum vitae, copies of degrees and transcripts of academic records, one copy of the dessertation for masters or undergraduate degree, a list of at least two references familiar with the applicant's qualifications, certified knowledge of the English language and an interview.

Please observe that applicant/s chosen to participate in an interview shall hand in certified true copies of certificates, diplomas and transcripts from previous studies at an internationally recognized higher education institution (university or university college) and transcripts in connection to the interview. If the applicant is a foreign citizen we require a certified copy of the page in your passport with your personal data and photography.

Read about the PhD education at SLU at

Academic union representatives:

The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) develops the understanding and sustainable use and management of biological natural resources. The university ranks well internationally within its subject areas. SLU is a research-intensive university that also offers unique degree programmes in for example rural development and natural resource management, environmental economics, animal science and landscape architecture.

SLU has just over 3,000 employees, 5,000 students and a turnover of SEK 3 billion. The university has invested heavily in a modern, attractive environment on its campuses in Alnarp, Umeå and Uppsala.

SLU is an equal opportunity employer.

Contact person

Anders Kvarnheden


Thomas Kraft