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Investigating the roles of phosphate and ion regulation in crop freezing tolerance (Durham)

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  • Full or part time
    Dr PH Knight
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

This project provides an exciting opportunity to elucidate a novel mechanism governing plant freezing tolerance, mediated by the AVP1 protein. The student will gain a wide range of experience in plant molecular biology, physiological and metabolic measurements and mathematical modelling. Using molecular genetics in the model plant Arabidopsis will elucidate how AVP1 renders plants more tolerant to freezing. Experience in cloning, plant transformation, measuring gene expression, confocal fluorescence microscopy to track GFP-labelled AVP1 and western blotting will be part of this training, as will quantitative measurement of tolerance using electrolyte conductivity assays and wheat crown regrowth assays. The student will interact with the newly established wheat transformation facility in the Durham Centre for Crop Improvement technology (DCCIT) to test the applicability of their findings to crop improvement. In parallel with this work the project will involve the chance to test whether the benefits of overexpressing AVP1 are accompanied by alterations in plant fitness under stress or non-stress conditions. Net CO2 uptake, dark respiration, transpiration and chlorophyll fluorescence will be measured (with Prof A. Borland, Newcastle). Information generated will be used to begin to model the relationship between AVP1, freezing tolerance and yield (with Dr Junli Liu, Durham).

For further information see the website: https://www.dur.ac.uk/biosciences/

To apply:
Please submit a full CV and covering letter directly to [Email Address Removed]

Funding Notes

This is a 4 year BBSRC studentship under the Newcastle-Liverpool-Durham DTP. The successful applicant will receive research costs, tuition fees and stipend (£14,057 for 2015-16). The PhD will start in September 2016. Applicants should have, or be expecting to receive, a 2.1 Hons degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject. EU candidates must have been resident in the UK for 3 years in order to receive full support. There are 2 stages to the application process.


Hemsley PA, Hurst CH, Kaliyadasa E, Lamb, R, Knight, MR, De Cothi, EA, Steele, JF and Knight, H (2014) The Arabidopsis Mediator Complex Subunits MED16, MED14, and MED2 Regulate Mediator and RNA Polymerase II Recruitment to CBF-Responsive Cold-Regulated Genes, The Plant Cell 26, 465-484.

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