Funded PhD Position at MycSA

PhD position

Funded PhD Position at MycSA

Developing the new paradigm of ‘meta-plant pathogens’ by studying the compositional and metabolomic dynamics of a Meta-Fusarium sp. exposed to abiotic and biotic perturbations

Context and objectives of the PhD project:
Fusarium spp. are causal agents of Fusarium head blight (FHB), one of the most devastating fungal diseases affecting cereal crops. In addition to yield losses, some of these fungal species are responsible for grain contamination with mycotoxins that are a major health and food safety concern. Over 20 Fusarium species have been associated with FHB. The species Fusarium graminearum, Fusarium culmorum, Fusarium avenaceum, Fusarium tricinctum, Fusarium poae, Fusarium sporotrichioides, and Fusarium langsethiae are reported as the most common species encountered in Europe. All these Fusarium species can produce one or more mycotoxins including type A and type B trichothecenes, zearalenone, enniatins and beauvericin.
Despite intensive research over the past decades, recommended agronomic practices and current mitigation strategies are not enough to guarantee mycotoxin levels complying with European regulatory limits. Up to now, investigations aiming at providing bases for the development of mycotoxin control strategies were virtually exclusively conducted considering “one pathogen-one disease”, an approach that has proved itself insufficient to reach a comprehensive understanding of the FHB disease process and mycotoxin accumulation in crops. Indeed, the blend of Fusarium species in interaction inside a shared niche is likely to result in a production of mycotoxins having its own regulation that cannot be predicted by knowing what happens in single species cultures. Taking a meta-view at Fusarium and breaking habits with the development of the innovative concept of a meta-pathogen would be a disruptive innovation in order to progress in fighting contaminations of cereals by mycotoxins.

In this context, the aim of the present PhD project is to investigate the regulation of the production of mycotoxins by what we call a Meta-Fusarium sp. The latter - comprising the seven major Fusarium species involved in FHB - will be considered in ecophysiology analyses as an individual fungus that operates as a whole.
To achieve its goal, the project will be set around two main objectives:
- To characterize fungal development kinetics and evolution of secondary metabolite production profiles of Meta-Fusarium sp. under varying environmental conditions.
- To demonstrate the added value of the Meta-Fusarium sp. approach for the identification of new eco-friendly control strategies to fight against mycotoxin accumulation in cereals.

Skills expected to be acquired throughout this PhD project: The project is based on a multidisciplinary approach combining microbiology, fungal DNA quantification (Taqman QPCR), metabolomics (LC et UPLC/DAD, LC/HRMS) and tests on plant organs.

Required competencies: The successful candidate should have knowledge in fungal biology. and a background in biochemical analytical techniques, basic molecular biology and biostatistics.

Funding: This PhD project is funded within the TEAMTOX ANR project (2022-2026). The scheduled start date is the 01/12/2022. TEAMTOX

How to apply:
You can apply until 22 August 2022.
Send your application to Dr Florence Forget ( and Dr Jean-Michel Savoie ( consisting your CV, a cover letter and a recommendation letter from the person who supervised your Master thesis.
Informal enquiries about the position are welcome by email to
Associated Doctoral school: « Sciences de la Vie et de la Sante » – Bordeaux University

Host Institution:
INRAE, UR 1264 MycSA (Mycology and Food Safety) - /
Centre INRAE - Nouvelle Aquitaine Bordeaux
Supervision :
Florence FORGET
Jean-Michel SAVOIE

Publication date : 13 July 2022 | Redactor : Communication MycSA