MSc by Research: Signaling pathways controlling epidermal development in cereals

   School of Life Sciences

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  Dr Sarah McKim  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Plants living on land face brutal threats from pests, dehydration and temperature. To survive and thrive, land plants evolved a waxy ‘cuticle’ and distinctive epidermal cells such as gas pores and defensive barbs. Further changes to the epidermis contribute to improved cereal performance on arid grasslands and play important roles in climate resiliency. However, we understand little about how plants, including cereals, coordinate multiple innovations on the epidermis into a coherent surface.  

Excitingly, we recently discovered a core patterning pathway that may control epidermal development in cereals1. In this project, the student will advance these findings using state of the art biochemical and molecular approaches to find out how the pathway components interact and respond to environmental change. This project will appeal to students keen to explore plant science from molecule to field, and to contribute to crop improvement and food security. In this project, the student will learn the latest molecular biology, cereal physiology and development and protein biochemistry methods. The student will be based in the McKim lab, a dynamic, productive and supportive research group studying cereal development, which is based at the James Hutton Institute (JHI), a global leader in cereal genetics and genomics, and part of the International Barley Hub, a £62 million investment in cereal research. The student will participate in training offered both by University of Dundee and JHI, and join a cohort of next-generation cereal scientists. We warmly welcome students from diverse backgrounds and cultures. Please feel free to contact me to discuss any aspects of the project.  

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 

Agriculture (1) Biological Sciences (4)


1 Liu et al (2022) Conserved signalling components coordinate epidermal patterning and cuticle deposition in barley. Nat Commun. 2022 Oct 13;13(1):6050. doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-33300-1

Where will I study?

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 About the Project