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CO2 perception and responses in plants – building new connections

   Institute of Molecular, Cell & Systems Biology

  Dr Rucha Karnik, Prof Mike Blatt  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Land plants must constantly adjust and adapt to their environment. Environmental fluctuations often culminate in stress for plant growth, disrupt carbon and water balance, and affect crop productivity and fresh-water use. For example, elevated carbon dioxide concentration in air is a major consequence of global climate change. Increasing atmospheric CO2 is predicted to rise from pre-industrial level of 280 μmol mol-1, approaching 900 μmol mol-1 by the end of the 21st century. Plants assimilate CO2 through microscopic pores called ‘stomata’ for photosynthesis and carbon fixation. Plants respond to increases in CO2 concentration in the air by adjusting stomatal movements and over longer times by altering stomatal density and patterning on the leaf surface. How the perception of elevated CO2 signals connects stomatal movements and long-term development remains poorly understood. Two PhD positions (Plant Science) are available to work on -

Project 1. Elucidating aspects of how membrane traffic affects physiology and developmental programmes in plant stomata.

Project 2. Research to pursue carry physiological and structure function analysis of membrane trafficking proteins using modern proteomics and structural approaches.

The PhD studies will be parts of a larger cross-disciplinary project to understand mechanisms of CO2-regulated membrane trafficking and its impact on plant growth with collaborating partners. It stems from need to address fundamental questions in stomatal biology which will generate advanced platforms for future crop-improvement strategies. Knowledge gained will enhance our understanding of the impacts of global warming and elevated CO2 on land plants in the 21st century. Successful candidates will work with a team of scientists will have opportunities to gain expertise in molecular cell biology, plant physiology and membrane biochemistry. The students will also develop new experimental set-ups to address fundamental unknowns. Working in the vibrant multi-disciplinary research environment at the University of Glasgow, successful candidates will be able to avail personal and career development opportunities to build a career in plant science. 

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Funding Notes

Both PhD positions are only open for self-funded students (Fees + Maintenance). Applicants with their own scholarship funding are welcome. Securing of a scholarship will not guarantee PhD placement. Offer for the PhD position will be made to applicants who are successful in a two-step interview process, following an initial screen for suitability.
Given the volume of requests we receive, it will NOT be possible to provide help with applications to individual candidates who are considering applying for scholarships.
Information for potential scholarship sources can be found at:
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For CSC (China) applicants information can be found at:
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(1) Karnik, R. et al. Trends Plant Science 22, (2017)
(2) Klejchova, M et al. Plant Physiology 185, (2021)
(3) Lawson, T. et al. Plant Physiology 164, (2014)
(4) Jezek, M. et al. Plant Physiology 174, (2017)
(5) Xia, L. et al. Plant Physiology 180, (2019)
(6) Eisenach, C. et al. Plant Journal 69, (2012)
(7) Papanatsiou, M. et al. Science 363, (2019)
(8) Zhang, J. et al. Current Biology 28, (2018)
(9) Lawson, T. New Phytologist 181, (2009)
(10) Grefen, C. et al. Nature Plants 1, (2015)
(11) Waghmare, S. et al. Plant Physiology 178, (2018)
(12) Waghmare, S. et al. Plant Physiology 181, (2019)
(13) Karnik R. et al. Plant Cell 27, (2015)
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