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Investigations of the link between the bacterial cytoskeleton and N-cycling in the Rhizobium-legume symbiosis (GATESU19CASE)

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

Project Description

Nitrogen fixation is the conversion of atmospheric nitrogen into ammonia and is a part of biogeochemical nitrogen
cycling. Rhizobium bacteria are found in soil and can form a symbiosis with the roots of legume plants, where the
bacteria fix nitrogen and provide a direct source of ammonia to the legume. The Rhizobium-legume symbiosis has
significant impact on agricultural practices greatly reducing pollution generated by the use of nitrogen fertilisers.

Although bacterial growth has been studied for many years, very little is known about the mechanism of growth
during the entry of Rhizobium bacteria into their cognate pea-plant. We will study the poorly understood
mechanism of polar growth and its link to N-cycling amongst Rhizobiales and monitor the diversity of polar protein
assemblies by analysing soil samples from crop-fields at several UK locations.

During this multi-disciplinary research the student will learn a wide variety of scientific approaches and
methodologies. In collaboration with PGRO (Processors and Growers Research Organisation) the bacterial samples
will be collected and analysed. Microbial molecular biology technologies including the generation of knockout
mutations and fluorescent protein fusions will be used to study the polar protein assemblies. Finally, mutants will
be tested for their ability to establish successful symbiosis with pea plants. In order to keep abreast of the
scientific field, the student will attend national and international conferences.

We are looking for a highly motivated applicant with strong interest in microbiology, plant biology and molecular
biology and who can thrive in a multi-disciplinary research laboratory.

This Industrial CASE project has been shortlisted for funding by the Norwich Biosciences Doctoral Training
Partnership (NRPDTP). Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed as part of the studentship competition on either
the 15th, 16th or 17th May 2019.

The NRPDTP offers postgraduates the opportunity to undertake a 4 year research project whilst enhancing
professional development and research skills through a comprehensive training programme. You will join a vibrant
community of world-leading researchers. Students with, or expecting to attain, at least an upper second class
honours degree, or equivalent, are invited to apply.

For further information and to apply, please visit our website:

For more information on the supervisor for this project, please go here:
The type of programme: PhD
The start date of the project:01/10/2019
Entry requirements: same as SCI. UK 2:1 & Eng Lang (6.5 overall, 6 in each section)

Funding Notes

Maximum 100 words
For funding eligibility guidance, please visit our website:
funding-and-eligibility. Full Studentships cover a stipend (UKRI rate: £15,009pa – 2019/0), research costs and
tuition fees at UK/EU rate and are available to students who meet the UK residency requirements.

Students from EU countries who do not meet the UK residency requirements may be eligible for a fees-only award.
Students in receipt of a fees-only award will be eligible for a maintenance stipend awarded by the NRPDTP
Bioscience Doctoral Scholarships. To be eligible students must meet the EU residency requirements.

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