We are currently advertising DTP and CASE studentships for October 2019 start. The deadline for applications is the 26th November 2018.

26 / 09 / 2018

Discovering novel factors involved in starch granule initiation in wheat (SEUNG_J19DTP)

how to apply

We are looking for a motivated PhD student to join our research team, which aims to develop a full molecular understanding of how plants make starch granules.

The student’s project will focus on uncovering molecular mechanisms of starch granule initiation in developing wheat grains - an area of starch synthesis that is not yet fully understood. Given the economic, social and cultural importance of wheat starch, the project has enormous opportunity for impact, and will create basic knowledge that may lead to new strategies to improve the quality of wheat and other cereal crops.

Starch is made in plastids as semi-crystalline, insoluble granules composed of glucose polymers. In developing wheat grains, there is a distinct spatial and temporal pattern in the initiation of new starch granules. This pattern is tightly coordinated with changes in the structure of the plastids that contain the granules.

The aim of the student’s project is to understand the coordination between granule initiation and plastid structure at the molecular level. The student will explore the role of a novel granule-initiation protein that is tightly associated with plastid membranes. A combination of light/electron microscopy and biochemistry techniques will be used to understand the protein’s location and function. The student will also use genetic approaches to manipulate plastid size and structure, and test subsequent impacts on granule initiation and morphology. There will be ample opportunities for innovation, and we will provide excellent training in a broad range of genetic, biochemistry and bioimaging techniques using the state-of-the-art facilities at JIC. We will also utilise the latest advances in wheat genomics and mutant collections available at JIC.