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Evolution Education Trust PhD project: Evolution of Host Specificity in Albugo candida - Brassicaceae Pathosystem

Project Description

Milner Centre for Evolution, a unique, cross-faculty research centre bridging biology, health and education. The Centre is dedicated to a broad range of fundamental research questions relating to evolutionary biology; from in deep time, to the micro-evolutionary dynamics of a disease outbreak. We have a strong focus on public engagement and outreach. We are located in a dedicated multi-million-pound building that opened on the University campus in September 2018. For further information about the centre see

Project Overview:

A multi-level evolutionary arms race determines the outcome of an interaction between a host plant and an invading pathogen. Successful pathogens evolved strategies to suppress plant immunity enabling host colonisation. However, it is yet to be fully understood how diverse plant pathogens evolved distinct strategies to impose immune suppression on specific hosts to cause disease. To provide novel insights, we will study the evolution of host specificity in Albugo candida that causes white rust disease in Brassicaceae. A. candida is a biotrophic parasite with many physiological races specializing on distinct host species, and imposes an extremely immuno-compromised state of the host plant. This project will determine molecular mechanisms leading to host immuno-suppression mediated by this pathogen by exploring chromatin profiles of host plant genes mainly involved in immunity via chromatin immunoprecipitation. In addition, transcriptomic and bioinformatic analyses will be carried out to determine the transcriptional changes occurred simultaneously in the host plant and the pathogen. The gene expression data will then be used for novel gene regulatory network analyses to determine how changes in gene expression in the pathogen affect gene expression/pathways in the host plant leading to host immune-suppression.


Applicants should hold, or expect to receive, a First Class or high Upper Second Class UK Honours degree (or the equivalent qualification gained outside the UK) in a relevant subject. A master’s level qualification would also be advantageous.


Informal enquiries should be directed to Dr Volkan Cevik, .

Formal applications should be made via the University of Bath’s online application form:

On the application form, please ensure that you quote ‘Evolution Education Trust’ in the Finance section and the supervisor’s name and project title in the ‘Your research interests’ section. Should you wish to be considered for more than project, quote the projects in order of preference and upload a separate personal statement relevant to each one.

More information about applying for a PhD at Bath may be found here:

Interviews will take place in Bath on 14 June 2019.

Anticipated start date: 30 September 2019.

Funding Notes

This project is one of a number that are in competition for funding from the Evolution Education Trust View Website.

A studentship will provide UK/EU tuition fees, a stipend in line with the UKRI rate (£15,009 p.a. for 2019/20) and a generous budget for research and training as well as funds to support outreach activities for a period of up to 3.5 years.

Note: ONLY UK and EU applicants are eligible for studentship funding. International applicants will not be considered unless they can fully self-fund (fees and living costs).

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

FTE Category A staff submitted: 24.50

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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