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  Doctoral (PhD) position in crop microbiome research - host, biocontrol agent and environmental impact on wheat microbiome and disease resistance


   School of Biology and Environmental Science

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  Prof Fiona Doohan  Applications accepted all year round  Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

Wheat production is hampered by many factors, not least diseases such as Fusarium head blight (FHB). There is increasing evidence that the microbiome plays an important role in pathogen-host interactions and a move towards microbial treatments replacing chemicals for the control of plant diseases, driven in no small part by the aspirations of the EU Green Deal. But we need a better understanding of plant-pathogen-microbiome interactions in order to fully exploit the potential of germplasm and biologicals for disease control. This is the aspiration of our Science Foundation-Ireland-funded WheatHealth project. Collaborating with international partners and a large team here at UCD, the student will explore the impact of environment and host genotype on the microbiome and its association with the disease response in wheat and grass, using a combination of phenotypic analysis, environmental and soil monitoring, DNA and RNA-based sequencing, and state-of the art-network and association studies and genetic analysis. Furthermore, we will investigate how and if biological control agents perturb the microbiome of wheat. 

This doctoral fellow will be part of our Research and Professional Doctoral training programme and receive training in transferable skills as well as discipline-specific genomics, transcriptomics and crop research skills. The student will assess the impact of environment, biocontrol agents and host genotype on the foliar and head microbiome of wheat, and the impact of Fusarium head blight disease on the head microbiome in the field.  They will conduct both field and molecular laboratory research and they will work in a large multidisciplinary team here at UCD. 

Minimum requirements are either a 2:1 degree in a plant, microbiology or crop science-related discipline plus work experience in this area or a MSc degree in a relevant subject area.

The position will closed when filled and candidates will be invited to interview on a rolling basis. Note we will consider applications received on a weekly basis so the earlier it is submitted the better.

To apply, please send your CV plus motivation letter to

Note applications without a detailed letter of motivation will not be considered. Those shortlisted will receive a response within one month of application. The successful candidate will preferably start in May 2024 at the UCD Dublin campus, but not later than September 2024.

PLEASE NOTE THE EARLIER YOU APPLY THE BETTER AS THE POSITION WILL BE CLOSED WHEN WE FIND A SUITABLE CANDIDATE. WE REVIEW CVS ON A WEEKLY BASIS.


Agriculture (1) Biological Sciences (4)

Funding Notes

This funding will cover a stipend of 22000 euro per annum plus fees for EU students. It will not cover international non-EU fees and hence the funding would not cover PhD costs for such students.
This position is funded by Science Foundation Ireland Frontiers for the Future Programme award 22/FFP-A/10284.
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