About the Project
Agricultural weeds have rapidly evolved the ability to survive the challenges of modern agricultural fields. Where they survive, they significantly reduce yields and increase agricultural costs. Of these evolved traits, herbicide resistance is a major problem. To beat herbicide resistance, we first need to understand it fully. Among the different herbicide resistance types, we know less about how plants avoid, modify, or detoxify the herbicide (called non-target site resistance or NTSR). This project focuses globally important Amaranthus and Lolium species, for which we have genes lists whose expressions is correlated to NTSR. To demonstrate causation between these correlated genes and NTSR and explore their function(s), we need Reverse Genetics techniques for these weedy species. That is where you come in.
In this PhD, you will adapt and optimise Virus-Mediated Reverse Genetics (VMRG) techniques for use in Amaranthus and Lolium species and then use VMRG to explore whether the specific genes are necessary or sufficient for NTSR in these species. The research will build from our breakthroughs in black-grass (Alopecurus myosuroides) where we have used virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) and virus-mediated overexpression (VOX) to transiently reduce or induce gene expression of specific targets.
Based at Rothamsted Research (Harpenden) you will integrate into Rothamsted’s and University of Plymouth’s PhD cohorts, and have opportunities to work at Bayer AG, Division Crop Science. You gain practical skills in molecular biology, plant physiology, microscopy, weed biology and herbicide resistance as well as various statistics, bioinformatics and transferable skills training.
The PhD project is co-hosted by Rothamsted Research, University of Plymouth and Bayer AG, Division Crop Science (Frankfurt) and you will undertake research and training at all three locations, but the project will predominantly be based at Rothamsted Research (Harpenden).
We actively seek to create and support diverse and inclusive workplace environments. We therefore welcome applications from individuals regardless of their current location, nationality, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, age, gender, or disability status.
We particularly encourage applications from BAME and mature (this is classed as 30+ years) individuals as these backgrounds are currently underrepresented within Higher Education/your specific discipline.
Applicants should have a first or upper second class honours degree in an appropriate subject and preferably a relevant Masters qualification.
The studentship is supported for 3 years and includes full tuition fees plus a stipend of £16,062 per annum (2022/23 rate)
Last date: 15 may