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  MSc by Research: The Generation Gap – understanding tissue communication during grain development

   School of Life Sciences

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

About the Project

Cereal grain provides more calories than any other source to our diet, making grain production vital to food security. We study grain development in barley, a globally important cereal, and a powerful genetic model system. Calories from grain mostly come from the starchy endosperm, which develops surrounded by nutritive and protective maternal tissues of the grain. Our recent work suggests that growth and survival of maternal tissues is carefully balanced with the need for nutrients and space for the endosperm1, but the exact mechanism remains unclear.   This project will use advanced methods in genetics, genomics and molecular biology to identify and characterise key genes that control maternal tissue development. The student will exploit cutting-edge transcriptomic approaches to understand how these key genes control gene expression during grain development. This project would best suit a student fascinated by development and motivated to work on cereal improvement. 

The student will receive training in modern cereal genetics and as well as advanced bioinformatic skills. The McKim lab is a dynamic, productive and supportive research group located at the James Hutton Institute (JHI), a global leader in cereal genomics, and part of the International Barley Hub, a £62 million investment in cereal research. This student will benefit from training offered both by University of Dundee and JHI. We warmly welcome students from diverse backgrounds and cultures. Interested students are encouraged 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 Shoesmith et al (2021) Development 148 (5): dev194894.

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 About the Project