BBSRC White Rose DTP Studentship – Plant Traumatic Stress Syndrome: exploring the internal and external drivers of plant stress memory against pests and diseases:

About the Project: To maximize their survival, plants store and integrate information from previous exposures to pests and diseases. A classic example is immune priming, which involves both physiological and epigenetic changes that enable a faster/stronger immune response against future attacks. Apart from this internal stress memory, pathogen- and herbivore-exposed plants emit signals to recruit beneficial organisms, which offer auxiliary protection against future attacks. Because such changes in the plant-biome are long-lasting and increase the plant’s ability to defend itself, they function as a form of external stress memory.

Recent studies have shown that the chromatin remodeler ROS1 controls both internal and external stress memory. To identify the underpinning (epi)genetic and biochemical pathways, this project will exploit a recently developed molecular-genetic tool that enables dose- and tissue-dependent manipulation of the plant epigenome. The student will work in a diverse research cluster at the University of Sheffield, offering wide-ranging expertise in plant-biotic interactions, molecular biology, chemical ecology and ‘-omics’ technologies.

This project aligns to a 4-year BBSRC industry-partnership-award project with Enza, which aims to develop epigenetic breeding for durable disease resistance in vegetable crops. Accordingly, the student will be part of a multidisciplinary research team that translates principles from basic discoveries into real-world applications.

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. 

Funding Notes:

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

Programme: PhD in Mechanistic Biology (4 years)

Start Date: 1st October 2023

Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed mid February 2023

Apply now

More info. contact Professor Jurriaan Ton:

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