Magnesium homeostasis in plants (SANDERS_J17DTP)

University of East Anglia - School of Biological Sciences

Start Date:  1st October 2017

No. of positions available: 1

Supervisor: Prof. Dale Sanders

Project description: Magnesium is essential for all life forms, including humans. It is estimated that over half of the global population is deficient is their magnesium intake. Human dietary magnesium intake relies heavily on plants.  While the major transporters for magnesium accumulation have been identified, little is known about how plants control and manage magnesium homeostasis at a cellular and a whole-plant level. 

This project will inject new insights into magnesium homeostasis in plants, focussing on Arabidopsis. A genetic approach has been devised – and is operational in the Sanders lab – that will identify novel genes involved in the sensing and response to magnesium supply to, and distribution within, plants. This approach is integrated with modelling and population genomics with the Morris and Yant Labs at JIC for a highly interdisciplinary training experience.

This genetic approach will be supported with access to outstanding facilities.  Identification of genes involved in magnesium homeostasis will enable a cellular and genetic analysis of their roles, and through genomic and modelling approaches, potential application of findings to crop plants. 

The project includes the identification of novel magnesium-sensing mutants using a luciferase reporter screen.

Through collaboration with population biologists and mathematicians at the JIC, it is envisaged that the student will be able to develop a novel and innovative quantitative framework for the understanding and application of magnesium homeostasis in plants. 

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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