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  PhD Scholarship (Plant-Microbe Interactions)

   School of Biological Sciences

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  Dr Monica Gerth  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

A fully-funded PhD project is available exploring microbial life in the phyllosphere. In particular, this project will focus on chemotaxis of natural populations of bacteria. There is evidence that chemotaxis is important to the infection process of plants by pathogenic bacteria, but this evidence has largely been limited to experiments using cultured isolates under laboratory conditions. This project will explore the chemical signals exuded by plants, the impact on microbial communities, and ultimately the health and stability of the plant holobiont.

This position is based in the laboratory of Dr. Monica Gerth (School of Biological Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand). The School of Biological Sciences is a diverse and stimulating academic environment, with research groups spanning from biochemistry to ecology. This PhD scholarship is funded by Bioprotection Aotearoa (one of ten national Centres of Research Excellence in New Zealand). The PhD scholarship funds a stipend of NZ$27,500 per annum for three years and full tuition costs.


A strong interest in microbiology and enthusiasm for picking apart molecular mechanisms are important for this PhD project. Ideally, you will have experience with sterile technique and maintenance of bacterial cultures, as well as some experience in molecular biology techniques and using programs such as “R”. Demonstrated excellence in written and communication skills are strongly desired, as well as a passion for reproducible science. A successful applicant will be someone who is motivated enough to work independently, but wise enough to seek help when needed.


Applicants must have an Honours or Master's degree in Molecular Microbiology, Biochemistry, or a closely related discipline with a GPA in relevant coursework equivalent to 8.0 or greater (on a 9-point scale).

Applicants must meet the admission requirements for a PhD programme at Victoria University of Wellington (

This includes English Language Requirements (e.g. IELTS overall band of 6.5, no sub-score below 6.0).

Due to the current Covid-19 pandemic and border closures candidates already present within New Zealand are preferred.

How to apply:

Send the following to [Email Address Removed]

Cover letter


Academic transcripts

Names of at least two academic referees

Note: only complete applications will be considered.

Biological Sciences (4)

 About the Project