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Feed-forward regulation of nutrient-dependent growth

   Plant Sciences

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  Dr Nicola J Patron  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Norwich United Kingdom Genetics Molecular Biology Plant Biology

About the Project

Plant traits such as nutrient uptake efficiency, are controlled by multiple genetic factors interacting combinatorially. To develop high-yielding crops requiring fewer chemical inputs, we need to understand the networks of genes that control complex traits such as plant growth in response to nutrients. Data from systems level experiments has been used to map a putative transcriptional network that regulates root growth in response to the availability of nitrate. An emergent property of this network is the prevalence of network motifs called feedforward loops (FFL). FFLs are known to generate robustness in the face of stochasticity and produce switch-like behaviours. In an ongoing collaboration with the Brady lab (UC Davis), we have experimentally validated a subnetwork of transcription factors (TFs) from this network, gaining evidence for their role in coordinating the expression of N-assimilation/utilisation genes. In this project the student will explore the role of FFLs within that subnetwork. They will use engineering approaches to perturb and rebuild the network to investigate the role of FFLs on expression dynamics and phenotype. The student will be trained in all techniques, gaining skills in plant molecular biology, gene editing, bioinformatics, and synthetic biology.

Supervisor: Dr. Nicola Patron

Location: Earlham Institute, Norwich, UK

Candidates can use the below link to find information about what they should submit, and upload their documents to the project supervisor. After the closing date, one candidate will be chosen to work with the project supervisor on a project proposal. 

“Feed-forward regulation of nutrient-dependent growth (PATRON_E21GATSBY)”

The selected candidate will compete at interview, with up to 9 other candidates, for one of up to four Sainsbury PhD Studentships. Interviews will be held in London on 20th/21st January 2022. It is expected that the studentship holder spend six months during their 3rd or 4th year at another university/institute to gain additional experience. Please note that students are not normally allowed to apply to the institution where they carried out their undergraduate degree.

Funding Notes

Enhanced four-year postgraduate studentships starting in October 2022, will once again be awarded by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation.
Maintenance stipend in the first year will be £21,545 (to increase by 4% annually). In addition to this, there is an annual payment of £5,500 for department laboratory fees, and £700 for books, conferences and travel. Tuition fees are also paid by the Foundation.
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