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Control of Cell Polarity in Plants (COEN_J22DTP)

   Graduate Programme

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  Prof E Coen  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Cell polarity is fundamental for growth and division in plants. The BASL protein is localised to one end of stomatal precursors and plays a critical role in asymmetric division and stomatal spacing. We have shown that ectopic expression of BASL reveals coordinated cell polarity throughout the growing Arabidopsis leaf. However, the mechanisms by which cell polarity is established and influences growth is still unclear. The aim of this project is to use a combination of live imaging, protein localisation, tissue culture and cell biology techniques to probe mechanisms underlying polarity and growth.

The Norwich Research Park Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (NRPDTP) is open to UK and international candidates for entry October 2021 and offers postgraduates the opportunity to undertake a 4-year PhD research project whilst enhancing professional development and research skills through a comprehensive training programme. You will join a vibrant community of world-leading researchers. All NRPDTP students undertake a three-month professional internship placement (PIPS) during their study. The placement offers exciting and invaluable work experience designed to enhance professional development. Full support and advice will be provided by our Professional Internship team. Students with, or expecting to attain, at least an upper second class honours degree, or equivalent, are invited to apply.

This project has been shortlisted for funding by the NRPDTP programme. Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed on Tuesday 25th January, Wednesday 26th January and Thursday 27th January 2022.

Visit our website for further information on eligibility and how to apply:

Our partners value diverse and inclusive work environments that are positive and supportive. Students are selected for admission without regard to gender, marital or civil partnership status, disability, race, nationality, ethnic origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation, age or social background.

Funding Notes

This project is awarded with a 4-year Norwich Research Park Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (NRPDTP) PhD studentship. The studentship includes payment of tuition fees (directly to the University), a stipend for each year of the studentship (2021/2 stipend rate: £15,609), and a Research Training Support Grant for each year of the studentship of £5,000 p.a.


Mansfield,C., Newman, J.L., Olsson, T.S.G., Hartley, M., Chan, J.* Coen, E.* (2018) Ectopic BASL Reveals Tissue Cell Polarity throughout Leaf Development in Arabidopsis thaliana Current Biology 28, 2638–2646,*co-corresponding authors.
Whitewoods, C. D., B. Goncalves, J. Cheng, M. Cui, R. Kennaway, K. Lee, C. Bushell, M. Yu, C. Piao, Coen, E. (2020). Evolution of carnivorous traps from planar leaves through simple shifts in gene expression. Science 367 91-96.
Chan, J., Mansfield, C, Clouet, F. Dorussen, D. and Coen, E. (2020). Intrinsic Cell Polarity Coupled to Growth Axis Formation in Tobacco BY-2 Cells Curr. Biol. 30, 4999-5006.
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