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  Plant adaptation to low oxygen conditions

   Department of Biology

   Applications accepted all year round  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

In plants, cells are exposed to varying oxygen (O2) concentrations due to changes in environmental availability, metabolic activity, and organ anatomy (Weits et al., 20201; Loreti and Perata, 20202). Since oxygen is an essential molecule that serves as an electron acceptor in numerous reactions, including oxidative phosphorylation for ATP synthesis, cells must coordinately adjust their metabolism and physiology to cope with inadequate oxygen supply. Mechanisms enabling cells to sense the oxygen environment and trigger adaptive responses have been identified and are currently being characterized in angiosperms (Holdsworth and Gibbs, 20203). However, the diversity of these adaptations and their regulation in the green lineage has only recently begun to be explored (Bui et al., 20194; Weits et al., 20235). Preliminary results in our lab and many others worldwide have revealed a multitude of solutions that accommodate species-specific needs and integrate the oxygen availability signal with other exogenous and endogenous factors. Our group aims to merge plant ecophysiology, developmental biology, and synthetic biology to discover new approaches for enhancing tolerance to insufficient oxygen availability and potentially leveraging this condition for cellular needs. We are currently seeking a PhD student interested in joining our team to explore one of these aspects. For example, the student could focus on characterizing oxygen sensing mechanisms and adaptations to hypoxia in non-model species or on assembling/modifying known oxygen signaling components to engineer new metabolic pathways or developmental trajectories in model species. The project will be developed collaboratively by the Principal Investigator (PI) and the candidate to align with their interests and expertise.

Prospective candidates are invited contact Francesco () with their curriculum vitae and a short description of why they are interested to work on this research area (500 words max).

Further details about the Sainsbury PhD Studentship can be found here: Prestigious Sainsbury PhD Studentships in plant sciences for 2024-25

Biological Sciences (4) Engineering (12)

Funding Notes

Enhanced four-year postgraduate studentships, starting in October 2024, will again be awarded by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation. The maintenance stipend in the first year will be £23,303 (to increase by 4% annually). In addition to this, there is an annual payment of £5,500 for department laboratory fees, and £700 for books, conferences and travel. Tuition fees are also paid by the Foundation.


1 10.1111/nph.16424
2 10.3390/plants9060745
3 10.1016/j.cub.2020.03.021
4 10.1093/jxb/erz052
5 10.1111/pce.14440

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