PhD Studentship: Epigenetic regulation of plant germline development (FENG_J17DTP)

University of East Anglia - School of Biological Sciences

Start Date:  1st October 2017 

Supervisor: Dr Xiaoqi Feng

Project description: Sexual reproduction in flowering plants is carried out by highly specialised lines of cells, called the sexual lineages. A fundamental but unresolved question is how the reproductive function and fate are installed and maintained precisely in these cell lineages. Preliminary studies in the Feng Group suggest that an epigenetic pathway promotes sexual lineage development via controlling the expression of about 40 genes by DNA methylation, thereby contributing to the shift of gene expression during transition from somatic to reproductive development. This PhD project aims to investigate the molecular mechanism by which the DNA methylation pathway regulates sexual lineage development in the model plant Arabidopsis, using a combination of genetics, molecular and cell biology, epigenetics and genomics. This work will demonstrate, for the first time, how an epigenetic pathway can be tailored in a specific lineage of cells to convey precise biological functions, laying a foundation for the study of epigenetic regulation of plant development.

Working at the interface of developmental biology and epigenetics, you will greatly benefit from the scientific trainings in both fields. This project involves state-of-the-art techniques of molecular biology, flow cytometry, microscopy, high-throughput sequencing, and bioinformatics (eg. dealing with epigenomic data). You will receive support from a multidisciplinary group, and be encouraged and funded to attend conferences. JIC has a world class PhD training programme, providing not only top infrastructure and academic environment for your research, but also a number of training courses on transferable skills such as project management, presentation and leadership skills to promote your all-around development and employability.

Person specification: Minimum entry 2:1

Funding notes: Full Studentships cover a stipend (RCUK rate: £14,296pa – 2016/7), research costs and tuition fees at UK/EU rate, and are available to UK and EU students who meet the UK residency requirements.

Students from EU countries who do not meet the UK residency requirements may be eligible for a fees-only award. Students in receipt of a fees-only award will be eligible for a maintenance stipend awarded by the NRPDTP Bioscience Doctoral Scholarships, which when combined will equal a full studentship. To be eligible students must meet the EU residency requirements.

Details on eligibility for funding on the BBSRC website:

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