Developmental molecular biology of barley reproductive architecture
A BBSRC-funded studentship is available in the Division of Plant Sciences at the University of Dundee, Scotland to begin in October 2012.
Supervisor: Dr. Sarah McKim
Co-supervisor: Dr. Robbie Waugh
Feeding the world’s ever-growing population demands rapid increases in food production, especially in grain yield from cereal crops such as wheat, rice and barley. To avoid increased land use and fertilizer application, improved crop productivity must derive from accelerated and predicative breeding for plant architectures yielding more grain. To do this, we need a molecular understanding of the developmental genetics underpinning plant architecture in cereals. In this project, you will work with groups at the University of Dundee and the James Hutton Institute (JHI) who are at the fore-front in using barley to study temperate cereal architecture. Due to the recent, rapid generation of genomic tools and resources for barley, many developed at the JHI, this crop presents an ideal opportunity to study molecular developmental genetics in a genetically tractable system.
This project focuses on reproductive development in barley, which is characterised by the development of an inflorescence or spike at the tip of the main shoot. Instead of leaves, the spike initiates reproductive units called spikelets which go on to develop grain. Although intimately associated with grain production, the molecular networks controlling barley spike growth are relatively unknown. Using a collection barely lines showing differences in spike morphology, we have identified a transcription factor essential for proper spike development. Your aim in this project is to use both molecular genetic and biochemical approaches to uncover how this transcription factor regulates spike development. There is also scope to investigate how these mechanisms contribute to natural variation in spike growth amongst different barley cultivars.
Through this studentship, you will gain expertise and/or training in molecular cloning, electron microscopy and immunolocalisation, chromatin immunoprecipitation and gene expression platforms. This position would suit a student fascinated by the cellular mechanisms underlying developmental biology.
To apply please visit the College of Life Sciences, University of Dundee, online application site:
For more information about the College of Life Sciences and being a PhD student in Dundee, please see http://www.lifesci.dundee.ac.uk/phdprog/ To find out more about the Division of Plant Sciences, please visit our website at http://www.lifesci.dundee.ac.uk/research/ps
For informal inquiries about the project research, please contact Dr. Sarah McKim email@example.com