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Optimising reproductive organ photosynthesis to improve seed oil content

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, January 11, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Increasing crop yields while decreasing environmental impacts of agriculture is one of the major challenges facing modern society. To meet this challenge we must improve our understanding of how plants grow and respond to their environment. While leaves are often the focus of photosynthetic research, a large body of research indicates that photosynthesis in other organs is important to provide resources for developing seeds.

To investigate this further, we are using a comparative approach between several members of the same family of plants, the Brassicaceae, to investigate how certain features of leaves are rewired during flower development to facilitate photosynthesis. Therefore, this interdisciplinary project will combine aspects of plant development and photosynthesis research. Primary research techniques include functional genomics, genome-editing, confocal microscopy, gas exchange, and chlorophyll fluorescence analysis. This will enable the student to pursue a wide variety of research in both academia and industry upon completion of the BBSRC DTP program.

For further information see the website:

To apply

Please complete the online application form and attach a full CV and covering letter. Informal enquiries may be made to

Funding Notes

This is a 4 year BBSRC studentship under the Newcastle-Liverpool-Durham DTP. The successful applicant will receive research costs, tuition fees and stipend (£14,777 for 2018-19). The PhD will start in October 2019. Applicants should have, or be expecting to receive, a 2.1 Hons degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject. EU candidates must have been resident in the UK for 3 years in order to receive full support. There are 2 stages to the application process.


O'Maoileidigh, D.S., Stewart, D., Zheng, B., Coupland, G., and Wellmer, F. (2018). Floral homeotic proteins modulate the genetic program for leaf development to suppress trichome formation in flowers. Development 145, dev157784.

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