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BBSRC White Rose CASE Studentship: Improving water-use efficiency in wheat by modulating leaf structure

  • Full or part time
    Prof A Fleming
  • Application Deadline
    Monday, January 06, 2020
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Wheat provides 20% of calories consumed worldwide and is a major UK crop. Reflecting increased pressure on a finite resource, improving water-use efficiency in crops such as wheat is a major objective in agriculture (1). As a result of a previous CASE studentship, we have evidence that during breeding/evolution there has been a selection for leaf cells which have increased size and altered shape, and that this is linked to improved water-use efficiency (WUE) in modern wheat (2). The aim of this project is to test this hypothesis and to provide the CASE partner with novel traits as targets for breeding wheat with improved WUE. Exploiting novel genetic resources, you will both screen extant populations to identify novel structural traits for wheat improvement and test the role of specific cell cycle gene variants in leaf structure/function (3).
(1) Dunn et al (2019) J. Expt. Bot. doi.org/10.1093/jxb/erz248
(2) Lundgren et al (2019) Nature Communications 10, article number: 2825
(3) Lehmeier et al (2017) Plant J. 92, 981-994

The project involves advanced training in imaging, plant physiology and genetics, set in the context of developmental & evolutionary biology. Applicants with an interest in these areas are encouraged to apply. Sheffield Bioscience is ranked 5th in the UK (REF2014) and provides an excellent and stimulating environment for PhD students, as well as access to outstanding plant growth, plant physiology and light microscopy facilities required for this project. There are 18 plant science groups in Sheffield, providing a large, highly active research environment, spanning structural to global change biology. Part of the academic research will be performed in collaboration with the group of Christobal Uauy in the Crop Genetics Department at the John Innes Centre, Norwich, a world-leading plant research centre with a major focus on wheat genetics. During the CASE placement the succesful applicant will be embedded in the research arm of RAGT Seeds at Ickleton (near Cambridge). The student will have the opportunity to appreciate the relevance and importance of the proposed research and gain insight into other research possibilities and technologies used in the crop breeding industry. In addition, the student will be part of the White Rose BBSRC DTP which unites the three leading research universities in Yorkshire, providing extensive tailored training for careers in bioscience.

Funding Notes

- preferred start date October 2020
- a tax-free stipend at the standard Research Council rate (~£15,009, to be confirmed for 2020) for 4 years
- tuition fees at the UK/EU rate for 4 years.
- research costs
At least a 2:1 honours degree in a relevant subject or equivalent is required.
Studentships are available to UK and EU students who meet the UK residency requirements.

For further information on the host lab, see View Website
Informal enquiries to:

How good is research at University of Sheffield in Biological Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 44.90

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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