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EASTBIO Crosstalk between the circadian clock and innate immune system in plants

  • Full or part time
    Dr G van Ooijen
    Dr S Spoel
  • Application Deadline
    Sunday, January 05, 2020
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

Involvement of the circadian clock in many aspects of human health is well recognised, but circadian input in plant immunity is not as well understood. As agricultural losses from plant disease are significant, fundamental plant health research contributes to the human challenges of providing the increasing population with food. Plant immune pathways include key post-translational events, notably kinase signalling cascades and redox-based modifications associated with oxidative/reductive bursts, which could constitute entry points for clock regulation of defence signalling.
This PhD project uses the interaction between the plant Arabidopsis and the bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas to test the specific points of cross talk between immune pathways and the circadian clock.
Studying crosstalk between the highly complex networks of clock and immune signalling constitutes a challenging project that will develop the candidate in advanced techniques from both fields, including time series luciferase imaging of clock gene expression, detailed qRT-PCR experiments, and immune assays. Additionally, the project will involve substantial amounts of protein biochemistry, including advanced immunoprecipitation techniques. The candidate will take ownership or their projects, show initiative, and communicate effectively between the van Ooijen and Spoel laboratories (clock research and immune research, respectively).

Funding Notes

The “Visit Website” button will take you to our Online Application checklist. Complete each step and download the checklist which will provide a list of funding options and guide you through the application process. Follow the instructions on the EASTBIO website (you will be directed here from our application checklist), ensuring you upload an EASTBIO application form and transcripts to your application, and ticking the box to request references. Your referees should upload their references using the EASTBIO reference form, in time for the 5th January deadline so please give them plenty of time to do this by applying early.


1. Spoel SH & van Ooijen G (2014) Circadian redox signalling in plant immunity and abiotic stress. Antioxidants & Redox signalling, 20: 3024-39
2. Zheng XY, Zhou M, Yoo H, Pruneda-Paz JL, Spivey NW, Kay SA & Dong X (2015) Spatial and temporal regulation of biosynthesis of the plant immune signal salicylic acid. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 112:9166-73
3. Lu H, McClung CR, Zhang C (2017) Tick tock: circadian regulation of plant innate immunity. Unnu Rev Phytopathol 55:287-311

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

FTE Category A staff submitted: 109.70

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