Applications are invited for a DPhil position in Chemical Biology, available from October 2020 to work with Dr Emily Flashman in the Chemistry Research Laboratory, University of Oxford, UK. The project will involve developing and testing chemical or genetic strategies to manipulate the activity of the Plant Cysteine Oxidases and determine the effects on plant flood tolerance.
When plants are flooded they experience a reduction in oxygen availability which can threaten their survival. Plants are able to sense this reduction in oxygen availability through the reduced activity of oxygen-sensing enzymes, Plant Cysteine Oxidases (White MD et al (2017) Nat Commun 8:14690; White MD et al (2018) J Biol Chem 293:11786). This initiates a signalling cascade that results in an adaptive response to the low oxygen conditions, meaning plants can survive submergence for a short period of time. The effects of climate change mean that flood events are becoming more severe, challenging plant survival and impacting on food security. Strategies are therefore needed to improve flood tolerance. This studentship will develop mechanisms to manipulate Plant Cysteine Oxidase activity to enhance and prolong adaptive responses to submergence. The project will focus on structure-guided generation of PCO variants, and on developing screens for Plant Cysteine Oxidase activity and chemical strategies for their inhibition.
Candidates should have a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours (or equivalent international qualifications) in Chemistry/Chemical Biology/Biochemistry/Plant Sciences with a strong interest in enzymology and plant stress responses.
The studentship is funded for 3.5 years by the European Research Council and will cover course fees at Home/EU rate. You will also receive a stipend of no less than the standard UK Research Council rate, currently set at £15,009 per year.
Application deadline: 12.00noon UK time on Friday, 24th January 2020