With the human population projected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050, the looming challenge of feeding the rapidly growing population is threatened by plant pathogens, which cause an estimated 13% loss in crop yield each year. While battling diseases is essential for sustainable agriculture and global food security, developing crops with durable resistance requires a deep understanding of the basic molecular mechanisms that underlie the dynamic interactions between plant hosts and pathogens. A major approach to unravel these mechanisms is to study pathogen effectors, which are key virulence proteins that can directly manipulate host immunity. Plants have evolved a sophisticated immune system that is robust enough to protect them from the vast majority of potential pathogens in the surrounding environment. However, successful pathogens produce effectors to defeat host immunity. Understanding how effectors render plants susceptible to pathogens provides essential insight into the fundamental principles of host-pathogen interactions. This knowledge is key towards establishing sustainable disease control strategies. This project employs the model Pseudomonas syringae-Arabidopsis thaliana pathosystem to investigate a newly emerged aspect in plant immunity, which is centred on the metabolism of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+). As an important metabolic and redox agent, specific cleavage of NAD+ has recently been shown to be an important process during the activation of immune signalling. This project employs a combination of genetics, molecular biology, and biochemical approaches to advance our understanding of this new frontier in plant immunity. The student will receive broad training on cutting-edge, interdisciplinary technologies such as proteomics, protein structure analysis, and metabolomics. Training on communication, management, and other transferable skills will also be offered to enhance career planning and professional development. At the end of the degree, the student will be equipped with the necessary skills to pursue a successful career in science.
The Norwich Research Park Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (NRPDTP) is open to the UK and international candidates for entry in October 2022 and offers postgraduates the opportunity to undertake a 4-year PhD 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 placement (PIPS) during their study. The placement 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.
This project has been shortlisted for funding by the NRPDTP programme. Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed on Tuesday 25th January, Wednesday 26th January and Thursday 27th January 2022.
You can visit the Norwich Research Park Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership page for further information on eligibility and the application process.
Our partners value diverse and inclusive work environments that are positive and supportive. Students are selected for admission without regard to gender, marital or civil partnership status, disability, race, nationality, ethnic origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation, age or social background.