PhD Studentship - The Hunt for Healthier Wheat Starch (HAZARD_Q18DTP)

University of East Anglia - Biological Sciences

Location: Quadram Institute Bioscience

Start Date: 1st October 2018

No. of positions available: 1

Supervisor: Dr Brittany Hazard

Project description: Wheat products such as bread, pasta and biscuits are global staple foods that people eat every day. These foods are a major source starch, and starches resistant to digestion are an important component of dietary fibre capable of delivering many health benefits.

Despite the potential health benefits resistant starches can provide, levels remain very low in wheat foods. Increasing the resistant starch content in the wheat grain is a key strategy to address this and a sustainable approach to develop healthier everyday wheat foods.

Thus, it is important to understand what makes wheat starches more or less digestible. We know that certain properties of starch like its structure and composition can influence its rate or lack of digestion. Nevertheless, finding useful starch properties in wheat is still limited due to the lack of informative, accurate and efficient phenotyping methods.

This project will focus on understanding the starch properties in wheat contributing to resistant starch. The student will utilize cutting-edge biochemical and physicochemical techniques to investigate wheat starch properties and then use this information to find useful sources of resistant starch in diverse wheat germplasm.

The student will use valuable genetic and genomic resources in wheat including collections of diverse wild wheat landraces and sequenced wheat TILLING mutants. The student will build a solid skill set in modern plant pre-breeding and trait development. The project will also provide opportunities for the student to develop new phenotyping and molecular tools for plant breeding. The student will be supervised by a multidisciplinary team across the Norwich Research Park at both the Quadram Institute and the John Innes Centre.

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: www.biodtp.norwichresearchpark.ac.uk

Person specification: Minimum entry requirements: UK 2:1 or equivalent.

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: www.bbsrc.ac.uk/web/FILES/Guidelines/studentship_eligibility.pdf

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Type / Role:

PhD

Location(s):

South East England