PhD Studentship: Dissecting calcium signalling pathways in basal land plants

University of East Anglia - School of Biological Sciences

Start Date:  1st October 2017

No. of positions available: 1

Supervisor: Dr Ben Miller

Project description:

Plants need to respond to the environment in order to adapt and grow. Plants often modify the concentration of calcium ions in their cells in response to different environmental stimuli and stresses [1]. These changes in cellular calcium concentration trigger many downstream responses, including re-programming of gene expression. Calcium signalling pathways are therefore essential for plants to respond and adapt to environmental stimuli and stresses.

Higher plants such as the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana have extensive networks of proteins associated with calcium signalling pathways, and traditional genetic studies have identified mutants in components of these pathways. However, genetic redundancy is frequently observed and this has hindered further study of these signalling pathways. Recent genomic analyses have revealed that the gene families encoding components of calcium signalling pathways are considerably smaller in basal land plant species [2, 3]. The study of these pathways in basal land plants will therefore offer unique insights and understandings into calcium signalling pathways in higher plants, and may identify new potential targets that could be manipulated to improve stress tolerance in crop species.

This PhD project will undertake a multi-disciplinary approach combining plant genetics, molecular biology, bioinformatics and biochemistry to dissect calcium signalling pathways in basal land plants.


  1. Kudla, Batistic & Hashimoto. Plant Cell 22:541-63 (2010)
  2. Edel & Kudla. Cell Calcium 57:231-46 (2015)
  3. Hamel, Sheen & Séguin. Trends Plant Sci 19: 79-89 (2014)


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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