Projects

Recruitment to the NRPDTP and iCASE programmes are now open. The deadline for applications is the 27th November 2017.

02 / 10 / 2017

What is the role of the bacterial cytoskeleton in the Rhizobium-legume symbiosis? (MILLER_U18DTP2)

how to apply

Nitrogen fixation is the conversion of atmospheric nitrogen into ammonia and is a part of biogeochemical nitrogen cycling. Rhizobium bacteria are found in soil and can form a symbiosis with the roots of legume plants, where the bacteria fix nitrogen and provide a direct source of ammonia to the legume. The Rhizobium-legume symbiosis has significant impact on agricultural practices greatly reducing pollution generated by the use of nitrogen fertilisers.

Although bacterial growth has been studied for many years, very little is known about the mechanism of growth during the entry of Rhizobium bacteria into their cognate pea-plant. We will study the poorly understood mechanism of polar growth amongst Rhizobiales and monitor the diversity of polar cytoskeletal protein assemblies by analysing soil samples from crop-fields at several UK locations.

During this multi-disciplinary research the student will learn a wide variety of scientific approaches and methodologies.

Microbial molecular biology technologies including the generation of knockout mutations and fluorescent protein fusions will be used to study the polar protein assemblies in Rhizobium bacteria. The student will also have the opportunity to analyse bacterial samples from diverse soil samples using sequencing and bioinformatic analysis. Finally, mutants will be tested for their ability to establish successful symbiosis with pea plants. In order to keep abreast of the scientific field, the student will attend national and international conferences.

We are looking for a highly-motivated applicant with strong interest in microbiology, plant biology and molecular biology and who can thrive in a multi-disciplinary research laboratory.