Medicinal Plant Genomics for Bioactive Discovery
This PhD project will be based on the use of genomics information from medicinal plants to explore the genetic basis of specialised metabolism associated with specific bioactive molecules. The Graham laboratory is particularly interested in natural products that are bioactive against developing world infectious diseases such as dengue and malaria. The project will involve a combination of bioinformatics, metabolomics, biochemical genetics, biochemistry and molecular biology to identify and functionally characterise candidate genes associated with specific biochemical pathways of specialised metabolism. In some cases bioactive natural products are only present in very low amounts in the source plant. This can result in an insufficient supply, which makes their use expensive. The ultimate aim of this project will be to develop the suite of gene tools necessary to reconstruct the biosynthetic pathway of a specific natural product in a heterologous host such as Saccharomyces cereviseae using synthetic biology approaches. Another aspect of the project will involve the use of DNA sequence data to characterise genetic diversity for selected medicinal plant species across different geographic locations and to establish how this relates to bioactivity.
This studentship is fully funded by the Garfield Weston Foundation for four years and covers: (i) a tax-free stipend at the standard Research Council rate (£15,009 for 2019/20 entry but typically increases annually in line with inflation), (ii) research costs, and (iii) tuition fees at the UK/EU rate.
START DATE: April 2020
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