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BBSRC SWBio DTP Studentship: The role of polyamine metabolism in development and stress responses in Arabidopsis thaliana

Cardiff School of Biosciences

, Monday, December 07, 2020 Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Maximising crop production to ensure continued food security will require a much better understanding of plant development and responses to stresses. Plant hormones play key roles in regulating flowering, seed development and responses of plants to both environmental stresses and pathogens. Polyamines are essential metabolites that have some roles that resemble plant hormones, but their exact function in plant development is unknown. Polyamine homeostasis is maintained by a balance of biosynthesis and breakdown as well as interconversion amongst different polyamines. Copper amine oxidases (CuAOs) form a family of related enzymes that catabolise polyamines and have a role in plant stress responses and in plant development. Polyamine levels also seem to affect other plant hormones such as gibberellic acids (GAs) – key regulators of plant growth and reproduction. Initial data indicate that down-regulation of multiple CuAOs results in changes to flowering time, plant architecture and seed production. Using CuAO mutants generated through artificial micro RNAs, CRISPR/Cas9 and T-DNA insertions, the project will investigate the effects of mutating single or multiple CuAO genes in Arabidopsis at a phenotypic and cellular level. A major goal is to gain a better understanding of how polyamines and GAs interact. This will be explored through biochemical analyses of GA and polyamine content in different organs of mutants compared to wild type and through transcriptomic analysis of mutants to identify target genes.

Applicants for a studentship must have obtained, or be about to obtain, a First or Upper Second Class UK Honours degree, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK, in an appropriate area of science or technology. Applicants with a Lower Second Class degree will be considered if they also have a Master’s degree or have significant relevant non-academic experience.

In addition, due to the strong mathematical component of the taught course in the first year and the quantitative emphasis in our projects, a minimum of a grade B in A-level Maths or an equivalent qualification or experience is required.

Applicants must ensure they highlight their Maths background within their application and to upload any supporting evidence.

Funding Notes

A fully-funded four year SWBio DTP studentship will cover:
• a stipend* (at the standard UKRI rate; £15,285 per annum for 2020-2021)
• research and training costs
• tuition fees (at the standard UKRI rate)
• additional funds to support fieldwork, conferences and a 3-month placement


This studentship has a start date of October 2021. In order to be considered you must submit a formal application via Cardiff University’s online application service. (To access the application system, click the 'Visit Institution' button on this advert) 
There is a box at the top right of the page labelled ‘Apply’, please ensure you select the correct ‘Qualification’ (Doctor of Philosophy), the correct ‘Mode of Study’ (Full Time) and the correct ‘Start Date’ (October 2021). This will take you to the application portal. 
In order to be considered candidates must submit the following information: 
• Supporting statement 
• CV 
• Qualification certificates 
• Proof of English language (if applicable)
• In the research proposal section of the application, please specify the project title and supervisors of the project and copy the project description in the text box provided. In the funding section, select “I will be applying for a scholarship/grant” and specify advertised funding from BBSRC SWBio DTP. If you are applying for more than one Cardiff University project, please note this in the research proposal section as the form only allows you to enter one title.

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