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Mining Meadows: Exploring the metabolic diversity of UK plants (PATRONE20DTP2)

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Monday, November 25, 2019
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Plants synthesize a multitude of specialised metabolites, many of which they use to provide protection against pests and pathogens, as attractants for beneficial insects, or to model their microbiomes. In addition, many plant natural products are utilised as medicines, fragrances and industrial ingredients. The aster family (Asteraceae) is one of the largest plant families with over 25,000 species, many of which have been cultivated for medicinal purposes. In some species, these therapeutic properties have been attributed to triterpenes. However, the genetic basis for the vast majority of these molecules is unknown. This project aims to identify the biosynthetic pathways of plant metabolites with therapeutic properties found in UK species of Asteraceae. It will also explore the evolution of metabolic diversification in this plant family.

Based in the Patron Lab at the Earlham Institute, and in collaboration with the Osbourn Lab at the John Innes Centre, this project will be linked to the ’Darwin Tree of Life’ initiative, which aims to sequence the genomes of all eukaryotic species in Britain. This project will use diverse techniques and technologies including bioinformatics, plant molecular biology and biochemistry as well as synthetic biology approaches. Training will be provided in all areas.

This 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. Candidates will be interviewed on either the 7th, 8th or 9th January 2020.

The NRP DTP 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. All NRPDTP students undertake a three-month professional internship (PIPS) during their study. The internship offers exciting and invaluable work experience designed to enhance professional development. Full support and advice will be provided by our Professional Internship team. 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:

Funding Notes

For funding eligibility guidance, please visit our website: View Website. Full Studentships cover a stipend (2019/0 rate: £15,009pa), research costs and tuition fees at UK/EU rate and are available to UK and EU 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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