President's Scholarship - PhD in Molecular Biosciences, Cardiff School of Biosciences (PhD Studentship)
Reference Number: R1053
Key Studentship Information
Project title: Understanding the molecular mechanism of the ‘Green Revolution’
Project description: Gibberellins are major plant hormone promoting growth, and the Green Revolution was based on varieties of wheat and rice that have less stem growth because they have reduced gibberellin responses. How gibberellin links to control of growth is completely unknown, but since growth depends on cell division and cell expansion, it must link to cellular controls of these processes. We have identified a new link between the gibberellin pathway and the growth control mechanisms. This is a novel and unexpected connection providing an exciting opportunity for a PhD project with high impact.
Gibberellins function by binding a receptor which then binds and directly triggers the destruction of a protein called Gibberllic Acid Insensitive (GAI). GAI inhibits growth and cell division through unknown mechanisms, and we have established a number of lines off evidence that support our hypothesis, and created tools to investigate the proposed interactions and to test their significance in plants. The PhD student would play a central role in collaborations we have established with leading gibberellin groups in Nottingham, the BBSRC Rothamsted Research Institute and Umea, Sweden and have the opportunity to work with these labs.
The project would involve learning a wide range of techniques, including molecular biology, biochemistry, plant transformation, confocal microscopy and functional genomics. The Murray lab is a world leader in research in plant cell cycle and its integration with developmental and environmental controls, and has pioneered several important advances in understanding.
Professor Jim Murray was recently awarded a Royal Society - Wolfson Research Excellence Award for research in this area, is a member of the BBSRC Bioscience for Industry Strategy Panel, Chair of the UK Genomics for Arabidopsis Resources Committee (GARNET) for BBSRC, winner of the BBSRC Commercial Innovator of the Year 2012 and an Associate Editor of Plant Molecular Biology and Journal of Experimental Botany. The lab occupies newly constructed and purpose-designed space within the Biomedical Sciences building, and includes a microscopy suite with dedicated Zeiss Meta 710 confocal microscope, dedicated flow cytometer, histology facility, environmentally controlled growth rooms, four independently controlled plant growth cabinets, and full equipment for molecular and cellular biology. PhD students are supported by the presence of 3 Senior Research Associates and four experienced postdoctoral researchers. The group has numerous collaborations with leading groups in the UK, Europe and US, and has led several recent international consortia and provides an exciting and stimulating environment for research training.
Proposed start date: 1st October 2013
Eligibility and funding
This is a Cardiff University President's Research Scholarship. The studentship will provide funding for 3.5 years with an annual stipend of £13,726. Applicants will need to have a first-class honours degree, or a 2.1 plus a postgraduate Masters degree (or their equivalents) in a relevant subject. Applicants need to be a resident of the UK or the EU.
Number of awards: 1
How to Apply
Applications for this PhD studentship can be made through our Online Application Service. Please ensure you state in the 'Funding' section of the application that you intend to apply for this studentship.
For further information, please contact Professor Jim Murray via email (MurrayJA1@cardiff.ac.uk).