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How does clubroot obtain nutrients from its living plant host?


Department of Animal and Plant Sciences

About the Project

Clubroot is an important pathogen of Brassica crops. The disease is found throughout the world and causes severe economic losses. The causative agent of clubroot is Plasmodiophora brassicae, a eukaryotic protist that is an obligate biotrophic plant pathogen. Although biotrophs are extremely important pathogens, studying them has been difficult as they cannot be grown in culture. However advances in genomics, including the recent sequencing of the clubroot genome, now gives us unique insights into this parasitic mode of life. This project will explore how a unique set of nutrient transporter genes encoded in the P. brassicae genome allows the pathogen to obtain and metabolise nutrients obtained from its living host. The student will study where these genes originated from an evolutionary perspective, when in the disease lifecyle they are expressed, where they are located and crucially, what substrates they transport. The student will gain expertise in a wide range of skills including genome analysis, gene cloning, protein expression analysis, microscopy and biochemistry. Ultimately the aim of this PhD is to apply this knowledge to develop novel routes to combat this serious crop disease.

Science Graduate School
As a PhD student in one of the science departments at the University of Sheffield, you’ll be part of the Science Graduate School. You’ll get access to training opportunities designed to support your career development by helping you gain professional skills that are essential in all areas of science. You’ll be able to learn how to recognise good research and research behaviour, improve your communication abilities and experience the breadth of technologies that are used in academia, industry and many related careers. Visit http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/sgs to learn more.

Funding Notes

The applicant will need to find funding to cover tuition fees and living expenses

The applicant should have, or expect to gain at least an upper second class degree, or equivalent overseas qualification, in a relevant subject

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