About the Project: Based at the Theoretical & Applied Crop Ecophysiology Lab, UCD School of Biology & Environmental Science

Project Description: This PhD opportunity is part of the PHOMEX project funded by the Science Foundation Ireland – Irish Research Council “Pathway” program to establish a new laboratory and foster promising Scientists. Photosynthesis is the primary production of food and supports human, marine, and terrestrial life. C4 photosynthesis is a remarkable adaptation that confers higher productivity in warm environments, but widespread adoption of C4 crops is limited by their susceptibility to dry summers and cold springs.

PHOMEX will address a fundamental question in Plant Biology: is C4 photosynthesis limited by the diffusion of photosynthetic metabolites between photosynthesizing cells? PHOMEX will provide crucial insights into the mechanisms of C4 photosynthesis, supporting advanced breeding and engineering for drought and cold tolerance.

As a PhD candidate, you will have the opportunity to work in the Theoretical & Applied Crop Ecophysiology Lab equipped with state-of-the-art technology for real-time measurement of gas exchange, chlorophyll fluorescence, water and CO2 isotopic discrimination, and plant dehydration. You will also have access to controlled environment chambers for plant growth and environmental manipulation measurements, encompassing plants and measuring devices. In addition, you will have the chance to collaborate with colleagues from around the world and attend leading scientific conferences in the field.

Main tasks:

1 Grow plants with standardised gravimetric watering in controlled environment rooms.

2. Measure concurrently gas exchange, CO2 and H2O isotopic discrimination, chlorophyll fluorescence, and water potential under ambient and low O2 levels, while manipulating the plant hydration and temperature.

3.Analyse results through curve fitting routines. Inform biochemical models of C4 metabolism to estimate key reaction rates, such as rates of activity of Rubisco and PEP carboxylase, and the rates of metabolite exchange between mesophyll and bundle sheath cells.

4.Assay enzyme activity and metabolite concentration using analytical biochemistry techniques.

5.Analyse data statistically and publish research results in scientific journals.

6.Periodically report progress in lab meetings and present results in relevant professional forums.

7.Complete PhD courses according to a set course schedule.

8. Obtain a doctorate within the PhD candidate period.

Required Professional qualifications:

Minimum educational background: BSc (honours) or MSc degree at 2.1 grade or above (or equivalent) in Agricultural Science/Crop Science/Biological Sciences/Plant Biology/Plant Biophysics/Plant Biochemistry or related fields.

Desirable criteria:

1.A strong academic background with a successful track record.

2.Previous experience in plant ecophysiology, particularly laboratory-based research, as well as analytical biochemistry and mechanistic modelling.

3.Proven ability to meet deadlines, effectively manage and prioritize tasks, organizing and structuring work to efficiently manage workload.

4.Demonstrated ability to work in a team; extra-curricular activities will be of particular value.

5.Relevant experience in practical projects and manual crafting, even through hobbies such as electronics, metalwork, or woodworking.

6. Previous experience with Academic writing.

Equality and diversity:

UCD is committed to creating an environment where diversity is celebrated and everyone is treated fairly regardless of gender, age, race, disability, ethnic origin, religion, sexual orientation, civil status, family status, or membership of the travelling community. Applications from all suitably qualified candidates will be considered.

About UCD:

UCD, located in the cosmopolitan city of Dublin, Ireland, is one of the top universities in Europe – and is also ranked in the top 1% of higher education institutions worldwide. Our students love the UCD campus, a huge, spacious campus with lakes, woodland walks and wildlife close to Dubin’s city centre.

Informal enquiries are welcome and should be addressed to Dr Chandra Bellasio (chandra.bellasio@ucd.ie).

To apply, please email at chandra.bellasio@ucd.ie a single PDF document that includes:

1. Curriculum vitae et studiorum

2. Metrics: Provide a list of grades received for each exam in your degree program and any relevant extracurricular courses, as well as any additional metrics you would like to be considered.

3. A Cover Letter: This letter should have two parts. The first part should highlight your relevant skills for each main task, and the second part should explain how you meet each of the selection criteria. Non-native English speakers must also provide proof of their language proficiency.

4.Contact Information: Please include the email and telephone number of at least one academic and one non-academic reference.

Please reference “[Your name and Surname] – PhD Application – PHOMEX” in the subject line of the email.

Evaluation of applicants will commence on April 1, 2023, and will continue until the position is filled.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: