PhD Studentship Plant and Crop Science


A genetic framework for generating root vascular pattern

The embryonic root initially forms as a radially symmetric organ.  The specification of xylem cells generates the positional information to create bilateral symmetry. This is coordinated by small differences in the spatial response patterns of two hormones, auxin and cytokinin. Using the model plant Arabidopsis, we have identified a mutually inhibitory interaction that sets vascular pattern. In this mechanism auxin directly promotes the expression of the cytokinin signalling inhibitor AHP6 and (through an unknown mechanism) cytokinin regulates the activity of the PIN class of auxin transporters.

The successful applicant will investigate the mechanism through which cytokinin regulates the activity of one of the PIN proteins, PIN7. The applicant will use a combination of genomic tools (including microarrays and yeast one hybrid screens) alongside a genetic screen to identify novel cytokinin-dependent factors regulating PIN7.

This project will be based at the Centre for Plant Integrative Biology, a world-renowned centre for plant biology with state of the art equipment. We are taking an interdisciplinary approach to investigating root vascular patterning and combine experimental biology with mathematical modelling of vascular patterning. A suitable candidate will have good communication skills and be willing to work in an interdisciplinary team. Applicants are required to have the equivalent of a 2(i) class degree in biology (or related subject) and a desire to research plant development.  Experience in some of the following areas would be desirable; plant science, molecular biology, genomics or microscopy. The position is advertised to start in September 2013 but could start earlier.

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Students must hold a BSc in biology or a related subject, MSc preferable, experience of molecular biology laboratory techniques desirable. Good proficiency in English.

This studentship is available from 1 September 2013 for a period of three years. Terms and conditions of award:  Funding agency reserves the right to not to approve the candidates. Due to funding restrictions this project is only available to EU/UK students.

To apply, please email a copy of your CV and two academic references to,  Please quote ref. SCI/1260.


Closing date: 31 May 2013.


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