The University of Exeter’s College of Life and Environmental Sciences, is inviting applications for a fully-funded PhD studentship to commence in September 2019 or as soon as possible thereafter. For eligible students the studentship will cover UK/EU/International tuition fees plus an annual tax-free stipend of at least £15,009 for 3.5 years full-time. The student would be based in the state of the art and newly constructed interdisciplinary Living Systems Institute which is in the College of Life and Environmental Sciences at the Streatham Campus Exeter.
Endosymbiosis is an important evolutionary process which can lead to the formation of organelles; cellular compartments that have changed how eukaryotic cells function. For example, organelle evolution has driven an important factor in the rise of biological complexity. The Richards’ lab, has recently been awarded an ERC consolidator grant to develop systems biology approaches and new models for understanding how two cells of different species can interact to form ‘stable’ endosymbiotic interactions. The aim of this PhD is to work with a team of senior scientists to develop new ways of understanding and manipulating an endosymbiotic interaction. Simply put, we have a very limited understanding of how one cell can live within another to form an endosymbiotic interaction. Our aim is to understand how endosymbiotic functions are driven and then manipulate these interactions to understand the ecology of this interaction.
Previous work within the lab has produced a large range of data and the student will be given the intellectual space and support to develop their own project within this team and subject remit. The PhD project/s can focus on bioinformatic and evolutionary analysis of ‘omics data, the role of the wider microbiome in the endosymbiotic interaction, cell biological approaches for studying the interaction and/or genetic approaches to understand which genes encode endosymbiotic function .
The “CELL-in-CELL-“ project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 819507)