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Effects of nitrogen metabolism on cell wall properties in Populus

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

A PhD position is currently available in the Biology Department at Syracuse University (http://biology.syr.edu/faculty/coleman/coleman.htm) to study the formation of the plant cell wall and how various external and internal factors influence cell wall chemistry in Populus. The plant cell wall is important from a number of perspectives for human use including food and fiber, but this research focuses on improving its usefulness as a source for biofuels and other bioproducts. The major goal of this research is to develop an understanding of how nitrogen influences cell wall formation, while at the same time reducing the required nitrogen consumption by plants. This position will encompass aspects of molecular biology, biochemistry, plant tissue culture and cell wall chemistry.

Applications are due by December 15th 2015, for a start date of August 2016. If you are interested in applying, please submit a pre-application to the Department of Biology Graduate Studies at: http://biology.syr.edu/grad/pre_app.htm

Syracuse has its own airport (15 minute drive from downtown) and is close to Toronto, New York City, Philadelphia, Montreal as well as the natural beauty of Upstate New York (Niagara Falls, The Finger Lakes, Adirondack lakes and mountains).

Syracuse University shares a campus with the SUNY-Environmental Science and Forestry School which also has an active plant biology program (http://www.esf.edu/)

Funding Notes

Funding is guaranteed through teaching and/or research assistantships for 5 years conditional on satisfactory progress.
Application Deadline for starting in August 2016 is Dec 31st 2015. However, late applications may be considered.


Kinkema M, Harrison M, Geijskes J, Shand K, Coleman HD, Palupe A, Sainz M, Dale J. (2014) An improved chemically inducible gene switch that functions in the monocotyledonous plant sugar cane. Plant Molecular Biology, 84: 443-454.
Ralph J, Akiyama T, Coleman HD, Mansfield SD. (2012) Effects on lignin structure of coumarate 3-hydroxylase downregulation in poplar. Bioenergy Research, 5: 1009-1019.
Coleman HD, Canovas FM, Man H, Kirby EG, Mansfield SD. (2012) Enhanced expression of glutamine synthetase (GS1a) confers altered fiber and wood chemistry in field grown poplar (Populus tremula × alba; 717-1B4). Plant Biotechnology Journal, 10: 883-889.
Yie X, Busov V, Zhao N, Meilan R, McDonnell LM, Coleman HD, Mansfield SD, Chen F, Li Y, Cheng Z-M. (2011) Transgenic poplar trees for forest products, bioenergy, and functional genomics. Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences, 30: 415-434.
Harrison MD, Geijskes J, Coleman HD, Shand K, Kinkema M, Palupe A, Hassall R, Sainz M, Lloyd R, Miles S, Dale JL. (2011) Accumulation of recombinant cellobiohydrolase and endoglucanase in the leaves of mature transgenic sugarcane. Plant Biotechnology Journal, 9:884-896.
Coleman HD, Beamish L, Reid AM, Park JY, Mansfield SD. (2010) Altered sucrose metabolism impacts plant biomass production and flower development. Transgenic Research, 19: 269-283.
Coleman HD, Yan J, Mansfield SD. (2009) Sucrose synthase affects carbon partitioning to increase cellulose production and altered cell wall ultrastructure. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, 106: 13118–13123.

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