3 Three PhD Contracts Fully Funded in Agricultural Sciences (Agronomy/Genetics) Financed for Three years by the University of Clermont Auvergne in France

1- PhD project in Characterization of the resistance mechanisms conferred by Stb16q in wheat:

Septoria tritici blotch (STB) caused by the fungal specie Zymoseptoria tritici, is one of the most devastating wheat diseases in France and in Europe. Management of this disease is associated with a very large usage of fungicides at the European scale. Therefore, there is an urgent need to find alternative and more sustainable ways to fight against STB. The aim of our research group is to improve wheat resistance to STB through knowledge-driven management strategies. Recently, we cloned the first two major genes involved in resistance to STB, Stb6 and Stb16q, which provides a unique opportunity to understand how they work.

The PhD project aims to unravel the molecular and physiological mechanism mediated by the plasma membrane receptor Stb16q. This project will be organized in two main tasks. Using complementary biochemical approaches, the first task proposes to identify molecules interacting with the Stb16q protein, which are necessary to trigger the resistance mechanism. The second task aims to decipher the Stb16q dependent cellular and physiological events associated with the arrest of the fungi during its penetration through the stomata. This project will provide novel knowledge on resistance mechanisms mediated by major resistant genes to fight more efficiently and sustainably against STB.

  • REQUIRED EDUCATION LEVEL Agricultural sciences: Master Degree or equivalent
Application Deadline: 27/06/2022 23:00 – Europe/Brussels

Contact Details

Where to send your application: to Université Clermont Auvergne, Via email:

2 – PhD project in Cultivated landscape genomics and signatures of selection in bread wheat varieties cultivated in France

The objective is to analyse historical success of bread wheat varieties in France. We will determine the genetic components of success (yield, earliness, resistances, abiotic tolerances, quality). We will develop methodologies to detect genomic regions involved in varietal success. We will differentiate genomic regions that fixed sustainable favorable alleles from those that could become deleterious (after pathogen bypass for instance) and would necessitate diversity re-introduction.

The three main questions are:

-Do French bread wheat varieties present genetic structuration in time and space?

-Do we identify genomic regions that were under selection? and can they be associated with genetic progress components (yield, earliness, quality, resistances, tolerances to abiotic stresses)?

-Could some genomic regions presenting low diversity cause future vulnerability (due to pathogen bypass for instance)?

To answer those questions, we will analyse a data base of 600 varieties that were registered during the last 40 years, with phenotypic, genotypic and cultivation surface information.

Perronne, R., Dubs, F., de Vallavieille-Pope, C., Leconte, M., du Cheyron, P., Cadot, V., Vidal, T., Enjalbert, J., 2021. Spatiotemporal Changes in Varietal Resistance to Wheat Yellow Rust in France Reveal an Increase in Field Resistance Level During the Period 1985–2018. Phytopathology® 111, 1602–1612.

  • REQUIRED EDUCATION LEVEL Agricultural sciences: Master Degree or equivalent
Application Deadline: 27/06/2022 23:00 – Europe/Brussels

Contact Details

Where to send your application. Université Clermont Auvergne

3 – PhD project in Evaluation of the impact of temperature on homologous and homoeologous recombination in wheat

Bread wheat (Triticum aestivum) improvement is a necessity to face the challenge of feeding the world population in the context of a sustainable agriculture using less fertilizers, pesticides and water and taking into account global warming. Fertility of this species is widely affected by temperature variations resulting in important yield loss. Fertility mainly depends on a faithful and rigorous production of gametes. This production is controlled during meiosis, a process common to all eukaryotes with sexual reproduction aiming at halving the amount of homologous chromosomes in diploid cells, which results in haploid cells with balanced chromosome stocks.

Meiosis is highly sensitive to temperature but it is still unknown whether this is due to a long exposure to high temperatures, to a threshold above which this factor would be deleterious or to a sudden rise in temperature. This project aims at applying an original approach allowing to test under controlled conditions (different temperatures (25, 30, 35°C), applied during various durations (24, 48, 72h) with or without acclimation) the effect of temperature variation on homologous or homoeologous recombination. This project will rely on classical genetic approaches (measure of recombination rate through SNP genotyping) as well as on cytogenetic technics (in situ hybridization on interspecific hybrids). Serra et al. (2021). Ph2 encodes the mismatch repair protein MSH7-3D that inhibits wheat homoeologous recombination. Nat. Comm. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-21127-1

The International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium (2018) Shifting the limits in wheat research and breeding using a fully annotated reference genome. Science 361, Issue 6403, eaar7191

  • REQUIRED EDUCATION LEVEL Agricultural sciences: Master Degree or equivalent
Application Deadline: 27/06/2022 23:00 – Europe/Brussels

Contact Details

Where to send your application.: Université Clermont Auvergne

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