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

26 / 09 / 2018

Molecular handshakes: effector action in rice blast disease (BANFIELD_J19DTP)

how to apply

Plant diseases are a continuous threat to food production and a major constraint on achieving global food security. One approach to addressing the problems caused by plant diseases is to understand the molecular basis of communication between the pathogen and host. Recently, rice HIPs/HIPPs (heavy metal-associated plant proteins, heavy metal-associated isoprenylated plant proteins) were shown to be targeted by host-translocated pathogen effector proteins from the rice blast pathogen (Magnaporthe oryzae), presumably to promote disease. M. oryzae is the most devastating disease of rice, estimated to destroy enough of this crop to feed >212 million people annually.  We understand very little about the function of rice HIPs/HIPPs, either in natural host cell physiology or in disease. This project will involve a systematic investigation the fundamental function of specific rice (and potentially other crop) HIPs/HIPPs by assaying their cellular localisation, post-translational modification, interactors, and how these activities maybe perturbed by the pathogen. There will also be opportunities to investigate how HIPs/HIPPs can be re-purposed for plant immunity. The studentship will involve techniques including molecular biology, confocal microscopy, proteomics, biochemistry and structural biology. There will also be the opportunity to work with national and international collaborators.

The student will receive expert training in diverse disciplines on a strategically relevant topic, within a stimulating research environment. They will join a team of researchers with shared interests and have access to world-class facilities. Further, it is expected they will attend national and international conferences to present their research.