Fully Funded Studentship Dissecting mechanisms of plant innate immunity to insect pests (HOGENHOUT_J14DTP)

John Innes Centre – School of Biological Sciences (UEA)

29 November 2013. Available from 1 October 2014. 

Dr Saskia Hogenhout

The Project:

Insect herbivores cause significant losses to crop production either by direct damage or through the transmission of plant pathogens. Remarkably, more than 80% of the insect species are regarded as specialists with less than 10% feeding on plants in more than 3 families. Thus, most plants are resistant to most insect herbivores.

The Hogenhout laboratory has identified virulence proteins (effectors) from insect-transmitted bacteria that modulate plant defenses to insect herbivory. Transgenic plants that produce these effectors become extremely susceptible to insect species. In addition, the transgenic plants are colonized by insect herbivores that normally die on these plants. Thus, the effectors are likely to interfere with plant immune responses that regulate basal plant resistance to the majority of insect species.

The student will investigate the interactions of effectors with specific plant transcription factors that have a potential role in regulating plant innate immunity to insect pests. The student will work with an interdisciplinary team of researchers, and as such, will have the opportunity to develop expertise in plant genetics, plant development and immunity, plant-pathogen and plant-insect interactions, and molecular and biochemical analyses of protein-protein interactions.

(S)He will participate, contribute research presentations and discuss scientific publications in weekly labmeetings, actively participate in seminar series organized by research centers of the Norwich Research Park (NRP), and be given the opportunity to attend and contribute poster and oral presentations at (inter)national scientific conferences.

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Entry Requirements:

2:1 or 2:2 plus Masters. English Language – IELTS 6.5 overall with 6 in each category.


Due to funding restrictions funding for PhD studentships from BBSRC is available to successful candidates who meet the UK Research Council eligibility criteria including the 3-year UK residency requirements. These requirements are detailed in the BBSRC eligibility guidelines:


In most cases UK and EU nationals who have been ordinarily resident in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of the course are eligible for a full-award. Other EU nationals may qualify for a fees only award. All candidates should check to confirm their eligibility for funding.

The current stipend for 2013/14 is £13,726 per annum.

Making Your Application:

For further information and to apply, please visit the ‘How to Apply’ page on our website by clicking Apply.

Additional Information:

In keeping with the postgraduate training policy of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) all students recruited onto this programme will be required to undertake a three months internship during the second or third year of their study. The internship will offer exciting and invaluable experience of work in an area outside of research, and full support and advice will be provided by a professional team from the UEA.

This project has been shortlisted for funding by the Norwich Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) – a collaboration between the Norwich Biosciences Institutes and the University of East Anglia.  Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed as part of the Studentship Competition.  The interview dates will be the 14th and 15th January 2014.

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