3 Year Full Time Studentship - Linking Structure and Function of the Plant Endoplasmic Reticulum

Oxford Brookes University - Department of Biological and Medical Sciences

Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

3 Year Full Time studentship

Eligibility: Home UK/EU applicants who must be permanently resident in UK/EU

Closing date: 12 January 2018 (midnight UK time)

Start Date: September 2018

Value p.a.: Bursary of £14500 (for 2017/18) and fees.

Main supervisor: Dr Verena Kriechbaumer

Main supervisor: Dr Verena Kriechbaumer

Email: vkriechbaumer@brookes.ac.uk

Phone: +44(0)1865-48-8403

Project description:

A great proportion of the planet’s food supply for proteins and carbohydrates is produced and transported through the plant secretory pathway. The secretory pathway is also responsible for the production of plant wall material which is important in the paper and biofuel industries. The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) forms the first compartment in the secretory pathway and can also be used to produce industrial molecules such as antibodies and therapeutics. Therefore, biotechnologically the ER has great potential to manipulate or increase protein productivity in plants and is of great importance for crop adaptation to climate change.

The ER forms a highly dynamic polygonal network composed of sheets and tubules. Our group has described novel proteins capable of changing this network, e.g. reticulon proteins forming tubules. We have also developed specialised software to quantify these structures and features.

We want to show the link between ER structure and function and a role for the ER acts as a platform for metabolic processes such as hormone biosynthesis. This project aims to quantify protein production, secretion, enzyme activity, and protein movement and link it to ER structure.

Methods include molecular biology, protein biochemistry, confocal and electron microscopy as well as single particle movement analysis and advanced image analysis.

This work will be supervised by Dr Verena Kriechbaumer and Prof Chris Hawes and is in collaboration with Dr Mark Fricker (University of Oxford).


Poulet A, Kriechbaumer V (2017) Bioinformatics analysis of phylogeny and transcription of TAA/YUC auxin biosynthetic genes. Int J Mol Sci18;18(8):pii: E179.

As part of their Studentship, any successful applicant will be required to undertake up to 6 hours undergraduate teaching/demonstrating a week during semesters on undergraduate practicals without further remuneration. Training will be given.

Contact: Dr Verena Kriechbaumer (vkriechbaumer@brookes.ac.uk)

Requirements: Applicants should be of the highest quality and capable of submitting a PhD thesis within 3 years. Applicants should have a first class or upper second class (minimum 2.1) honours degree from a Higher Education Institution in the UK or an acceptable equivalent qualification. EU Applicants must have an IELTS Academic test certificate with an overall minimum score of 7.0 and no score below 6.0 issued since 12th January 2016 by an approved test centre. We will consider alternative acceptable evidence of English Language ability.


Application procedure: Applications only to hlsapplications@brookes.ac.uk

Download application form: (www.hls.brookes.ac.uk/images/research/phd-studentship-application-form-jan-14.doc)

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