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Extremophiles in a Changing World: the Mechanistic Bases of Stress Resistance in Rotifers and Tardigrades.

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  • Full or part time
    Dr C Boschetti
    Dr Jonathan Ellis
    Dr S Rundle
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

Extremophiles are organisms able to tolerate extreme environmental conditions, which are stressful or lethal to other taxa and are important biological models that provide insights into the mechanisms underpinning adaptation and survival under environmental change. However, despite their importance, the specific mechanisms used by extremo-tolerant organisms to survive, and their evolution in different taxa, are still largely uncharacterised.

Main aims
The main aims of this PhD are to: i) compare and characterise the genetic toolkits which allow naturally-resistant taxa to survive different types of abiotic stresses; ii) identify differentially-sensitive life stages and test their plasticity in response to changing conditions; and iii) explore if and how the resistance mechanisms can be transferred to sensitive systems to improve their tolerance.

Brief methodology
A significant part of the project will involve in silico bioinformatics analyses of available genomes and transcriptomes to find, characterise and compare genes and pathways related to stress-tolerance, and high-throughput gene regulation will be explored to verify candidate genes, which will then be expressed in sensitive species to study increased resistance. Advanced light microscopy will also be used to uncover the differential degree of resistance of different taxa and life stages.

Training opportunities
You will be exposed to a wide range of state-of-the-art training as well as key skills like critical thinking and problem solving. You will develop presentation and networking skills and will be encouraged to present your data at international conferences, publish first author papers and apply for funding.

Funding Notes

The studentship is supported for 3 years and includes full Home/EU tuition fees plus a stipend of £15,285 per annum. The studentship will only fully fund those applicants who are eligible for Home/EU fees with relevant qualifications. Applicants normally required to cover overseas fees would have to cover the difference between the Home/EU and the overseas tuition fee rates (approximately £12,405 per annum).

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