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Reproductive interference for insect control (CHAPMANU20DTP2)

Project Description

The student will train at the interface of fundamental reproductive biology, bioinformatics and genetic engineering, to develop proof-of-principle for the use of reproductive interference as complementary new method for insect control.

Insect pests are a persistent and growing threat to human livelihoods and health because they damage economically important crops and spread disease. The pressing global challenge of combating such pests is being exacerbated by the evolution of resistance, the diminishing availability of pesticides and by climate change. The student will focus on reproductive interference - whereby courtship and copulation of one species / population is interrupted or disturbed by another. In the context of insect control this is often referred to as ’satyrization’ and it works because the consequences (particularly costs) of hybrid mating can lead to the competitive exclusion of a harmful species (or population) by a more benign one.

The project is a collaboration with the Earlham and Pirbright Institutes, world-leading research centres for bioinformatics and the development of genetic technologies, respectively. The student will develop key elements of a test case for insect control via satyrization in the fruitfly model. In this they will identify the loci and regulatory mechanisms contributing to satyrization as well as the underpinning signals and receivers deployed by males and females in this context.

The student will gain cutting-edge research skills in bioinformatics, molecular genetics and reproductive biology. They will train at the UEA, Pirbright and Earlham Institutes, and will gain key insights into the development and application of fundamental knowledge in the applied sector. They will receive excellent training and career development from the thriving Norwich Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership.

Project supervisor:
Project sponsor: Norwich Research Park Bioscience Doctoral Training Partnership
Type of programme: PhD
Start date: 1 October 2020
Mode of study: Full-time
Studentship length: 4 years


- First degree (2:1 or above) in relevant subject
- English language (IELTS 6.5 overall, 6 in each section)


This project has been shortlisted for funding by the Norwich Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (NRPDTP). Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed as part of the studentship competition. Candidates will be interviewed on either the 7th, 8th or 9th January 2020.

The NRP DTP offers postgraduates the opportunity to undertake a 4-year research project whilst enhancing professional development and research skills through a comprehensive training programme. You will join a vibrant community of world-leading researchers. All NRPDTP students undertake a three-month professional internship (PIPS) during their study. The internship offers exciting and invaluable work experience designed to enhance professional development. Full support and advice will be provided by our Professional Internship team. Students with, or expecting to attain, at least an upper second class honours degree, or equivalent, are invited to apply.

For further information and to apply, please visit our website:

Funding Notes

For funding eligibility guidance, please visit our website: View Website. Full Studentships cover a stipend (2019/0 rate: £15,009pa), research costs and tuition fees at UK/EU rate and are available to UK and EU students who meet the UK residency requirements.

Students from EU countries who do not meet the UK residency requirements may be eligible for a fees-only award. Students in receipt of a fees-only award will be eligible for a maintenance stipend awarded by the NRPDTP Bioscience Doctoral Scholarships. To be eligible students must meet the EU residency requirements.

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