During fertilisation in plants, key cells undergo remarkable changes which must involve changes in the cell wall; upon pollen tube arrival at the ovule, one of the synergid cells degenerates while the other fuses with the central cell, and subsequently the pollen tube bursts to release the sperm cells for fusion with the egg cell. Despite the importance of plant fertilisation to agriculture, and life on the planet, remarkably little is known about cell wall composition of pollen tubes and ovules, and even less about how this changes dynamically during fertilisation.
In this project, you will use immunohistology to understand which carbohydrates form the pollen tube and ovule cell walls, and explore how this composition changes during fertilisation. You will then use molecular genetics to alter the composition of the cell walls to test how this affects fertilisation.
The project builds on our prior work on fertilisation (Galindo-Trigo et al., EMBO Reports 21: e48466). We are looking for a student who is interested in working on plant reproduction and cell wall dynamics, preferably with some background in molecular and cellular biology. We provide a large, supportive group of researchers and excellent training opportunities to support you in your PhD studies.
The BBSRC WR DTP and the University of Sheffield are committed to recruiting future scientists regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, disability, sexual orientation or career pathway to date. We understand that commitment and excellence can be shown in many ways and we have built our recruitment process to reflect this. We welcome applicants from all backgrounds, particularly those underrepresented in science, who have curiosity, creativity and a drive to learn new skills.
Entry Requirements: Students with, or expecting to gain, at least an upper second class honours degree, or equivalent, are invited to apply. The interdisciplinary nature of this programme means that we welcome applications from students with backgrounds in any biological, chemical, and/or physical science, or students with mathematical backgrounds who are interested in using their skills in addressing biological questions.
This project is part of the BBSRC White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership in Mechanistic Biology. Appointed candidates will be fully-funded for 4 years. The funding includes:
• Tax-free annual UKRI stipend (£17,668 for 2022 starts)
• UK tuition fees (£4,596 for 2022)
• Research support and training grant (RSTG)
We aim to support the most outstanding applicants from outside the UK and are able to offer a limited number of bursaries that will enable full studentships to be awarded to international applicants. These full studentships will only be awarded to exceptional quality candidates, due to the competitive nature of this scheme.
Contact: Dr Lisa Smith firstname.lastname@example.org
Programme: PhD in Mechanistic Biology (4 years)
Start Date: 1st October 2023
Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed mid February 2023