PhD Studentship - Is Circadian Function an Important Trait for Wheat Breeders? (HALL_E18DTP)

University of East Anglia - Biological Sciences

Location: Earlham Institute, Norwich

Start Date: 1st October 2018

No. of positions available: 1

Supervisor: Professor Anthony Hall

Project description: Arguably the biggest environmental challenge life must adapt to is the daily light-dark cycle. To measure, predict and adapt to these changes organisms have independently evolved an internal molecular timer; the circadian clock. Fundamental work has described the molecular components forming the timing mechanism in the model plant Arabidopsis. Our research has also described the important role the clock has in optimising plant performance [Dodd et al. 2005].
 This PhD project fits within a program aiming to understand the role and function of the clock in wheat. This is fundamentally interesting as it allows us to address the question of how a complex regulatory network functions in a polyploid species. The clock has inadvertently been an important target during domestication in many crop and animal species, but it is still unclear why. Finally, the clock affects important agricultural traits, so can it be exploited further to improve yield and yield stability? 
This is a unique opportunity to investigate fundamental biological questions, while addressing real world problems. The student will develop a broad range of skills critical for the modern biologist, which in the long term will help improve wheat yield and feed the world.

Dodd, A. N., Salathia, N., Hall, A., Kévei, E., Tóth, R., Nagy, F., et al. (2005). Plant circadian clocks increase photosynthesis, growth, survival, and competitive advantage. Science (New York, NY), 309(5734), 630–633.

This project has been shortlisted for funding by the Norwich Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (NRPDTP). Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed as part of the studentship competition. Candidates will be interviewed on either the 9th, 10th or 11th January 2018.

The Norwich Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (NRPDTP) offers postgraduates the opportunity to undertake a 4 year research project whilst enhancing professional development and research skills through a comprehensive training programme. You will join a vibrant community of world-leading researchers. All NRPDTP students undertake a three month professional internship (PIPS) during their study. The internship offers exciting and invaluable work experience designed to enhance professional development. Full support and advice will be provided by our Professional Internship team.

For further information and to apply, please visit our website:

Person specification: Students with, or expecting to attain, at least an upper second class honours degree, or equivalent, are invited to apply.

Funding notes: Full Studentships cover a stipend (RCUK rate: £14,553pa – 2017/8), 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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