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Tackling the fungal threat to global food security


School of Life Sciences

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Prof Simon Avery , Dr Matthias Brock Applications accepted all year round Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Fungi cause diseases of crops and spoilage of foods that cause losses of up to a third of food yield. This is a major global challenge given the world’s growing population and need for more food, while climate change is predicted to limit food supply in the future. Food-borne fungal human-pathogens add further to the problem. New approaches are urgently needed to limit fungal growth on crops and foods. This project will explore modifications to existing approaches, like preservation with weak acids, as well as novel synergistic combination treatments applicable in the field and post-harvest products. There will be a strong element of in vitro laboratory experiments, including molecular mode-of-action studies with yeast and fungal model organisms. The Avery laboratory has expertise in elucidating mechanisms of action as well as the phenomenon of cell individuality (phenotypic heterogeneity), relevant to preservative resistance. The project will benefit from interactions with collaborators, in particular at Nottingham, Edinburgh and Sao Paulo. The project will provide excellent training opportunities and successful candidates will join an active group within the highly rated School of Life Sciences, University of Nottingham.

The University of Nottingham is one of the world’s most respected research-intensive universities, ranked 8th in the UK for research power (REF 2014). Students studying in the School of Life Sciences will have the opportunity to thrive in a vibrant, multidisciplinary environment, with expert supervision from leaders in their field, state-of-the-art facilities and strong links with industry. Students are closely monitored in terms of their personal and professional progression throughout their study period and are assigned academic mentors in addition to their supervisory team. The School provides structured training as a fundamental part of postgraduate personal development and our training programme enables students to develop skills across the four domains of the Vitae Researcher Development Framework (RDF). During their studies, students will also have the opportunity to attend and present at conferences around the world. The School puts strong emphasis on the promotion of postgraduate research with a 2-day annual PhD research symposium attended by all students, plus academic staff and invited speakers.

Funding Notes

Self-funded. Home applicants should contact the supervisor to determine the current funding status for this project. EU applicants should visit the Graduate School webpages http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/graduateschool/funding/index.aspx for information on specific EU scholarships. International applicants should visit our International Research Scholarships page http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/studywithus/international-applicants/scholarships-fees-and-finance/scholarships/index.aspx for information regarding fees and funding at the University.

References

Vallieres C, Raulo R, Dickinson MJ and Avery SV. Novel combinations of agents targeting translation that synergistically inhibit fungal pathogens. Under review.
Stratford M, Steels H, Novodvorska M, Archer DB and Avery SV. Extreme osmotolerance and halotolerance in food-relevant yeasts and the role of glycerol-dependent cell individuality. Under review.
Vallieres C and Avery SV (2017). Metal-based combinations that target protein synthesis by fungi. Adv. Microb. Physiol 70:105-21.
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