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Remodeling of plant proteolytic systems to boost biopharming and disease resistance

Project Description

Autophagy is a self-eating machinery central to cellular homeostasis and coping with stress responses. In addition to facilitating removal of unwanted/foreign proteins in the lysosome, specialized forms of selective autophagy are co-opted to contribute to plant immunity. Thus, a deeper understanding of selective autophagy is not only critical to engineer plant disease resistance but also important to enhance the yield of plant based pharmaceuticals (biopharming). However, the molecular basis of selective autophagy and how it contributes to plant immunity is poorly understood. The project will dissect the functional principles of defense-related autophagy and remodel it to engineer plant disease resistance as well as to enhance production of recombinant proteins in plants. The project will use a multifaceted approach, integrating molecular and cell biology to enhance productivity and sustainability of plants. Specifically, the student will be trained in genome editing, proteomics and high-resolution microscopy to characterize and reprogram the plant autophagy machinery. This research will significantly improve our basic understanding of plant-pathogen interactions by providing novel insights into the functioning of defense-related autophagy, and will pave the way for engineering plants to become more effective drug-producing factories.

Residential & Academic Eligibility

UK or EU nationals who are ordinarily residents of the UK are eligible to apply. Candidates must carefully read Annex 1 of the RCUK Training Grant Guide (https://www.ukri.org/files/legacy/publications/rcuk-training-grant-guide-pdf/) to determine their own eligibility before applying. Candidates are expected to have a BSc degree, in a relevant subject, at 2:1 level or better, as well as a postgraduate Masters qualification, by October 2020. Exceptional students at Bachelor’s level may also be considered.

How to Apply

Please visit our BBSRC DTP webpage to obtain more information on how to apply (https://www.imperial.ac.uk/bbsrc-doctoral-training-partnership/).

Deadline for applications: 12noon on Friday, 21 February 2020.

Funding Notes

The studentships cover: (i) an annual tax-free stipend at the standard Research Council rate (£17,009 for 2019-2020, to be confirmed for 2020-2021 but typically increases annually in line with inflation), (ii) contribution towards research costs, and (iii) tuition fees at the UK/EU rate.

Studentships will last for 3.5 years full-time.

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