Fully Funded Studentship The Physics of Symbiotic Calcium Oscillations (MORRIS_J14DTP)

John Innes Centre – School of Mathematics (UEA)

29 November 2013. Available from 1 October 2014. 

Dr Richard Morris

The Project:

Calcium oscillations have been shown to be key for the successful symbiosis between plants and bacteria. This interaction promotes nitrogen fixation by the bacteria which is important for plant nutrition and reducing the requirement for fertilizers.

We are beginning the unravel the molecular identity of some of the main molecular players in the generation of these oscillations and have put forward the first mathematical model of this process.  The overall aim of this PhD project is to gain a better understanding of how calcium oscillations are generated during the initiation of legume symbioses. Within this project we will kinetically characterise the calcium channel and build a mathematical model of how it works which will be validated experimentally.

The project builds on promising foundations in terms of preliminary results and leads, an excellent existing multidisciplinary team with a strong track record, and work alongside two postdocs on a recently won, related BBSRC grant to investigate the calcium encoding process using confocal imaging and spatio-temporal calcium wave reconstruction..

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:

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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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