Pests and diseases are a major threat to food security with losses ranging between 20-40%. Aphids are one of the most devastating insect pests, globally. These insects form a close association with their host and use specialized mouthparts (stylets), to probe leaf tissue and feed on the phloem over prolonged periods of time. Upon puncturing the leaf epidermis, the stylets follow a mainly extracellular route through the different cell layers to reach the phloem, and puncture cells along the pathway. During probing and feeding, saliva is secreted, which is rich in proteins and small molecules that function as effectors in reprogramming host processes underlying susceptibility.
To understand how aphid effectors promote susceptibility, our lab developed a structural biology pipeline to unveil effector protein structures, including in bound state to their host targets. One challenging step in this pipeline is the production of large quantities of soluble aphid and plant proteins. In this project, we will develop and optimize protein production in the model plant Nicotiana benthamiana with the aim to purify proteins and protein complexes, and subject these to our structural biology pipeline.
The student will use molecular biology and biochemistry approaches, such mutagenesis, Gateway cloning and protein purification as well as structural biology approaches.
The project will help us better understand how aphids are able to manipulate the host to their own benefit and generate novel insight into how we may be able to prevent effector-mediated susceptibility.
Please see our website for further details on the programme:
Life Sciences MSc by Research MSc by Research (Postgraduate) : Study : University of Dundee
Please note before submitting your application that you must list your top three project choices in the Research Proposal section of the application form.
You apply for this course using our Direct Application System. Once you've signed up for an account you'll be asked to search for a course.
To find Life Science MSc by Research you should select the following options:
· Course type: Research Postgraduate
· Keyword: Life
When you complete your form, you should include your top 3 project choices, 2 letters of reference, uploaded under "Other Information" > "Supporting documents" and a personal statement. Failure to do so will delay your application.
Please note when submitting an application that we have the following deadline dates throughout the year:
September Starts - Application Deadline 1st May, Interview Date - Late June
January Starts - Application Deadline 1st Sep, Interview Date - Late October
May Starts - Application Deadline 1st Feb, Interview Date - Late March