Understanding beneficial plant-microbe symbioses

Domestication underground-exploring nutrient acquisition and hormone signalling strategies in plants

Degree type

PhD

Closing date

29 October 2021

Campus

Hobart

Citizenship requirement

Domestic/International Onshore

About the research project

Plants host a wide array of microbes that range from the beneficial (symbiotic) through to the harmful (parasitic/pathogenic). Plants must both actively encourage intimate symbioses with nutrient-acquiring bacteria and fungi but also exclude and defend against those microbes that lead to plant disease.  Over 80% of plants associate with phosphorous-acquiring arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, while a limited set of plants associate with nitrogen-fixing bacteria. The symbiotic pathways that enables plants to associate with these beneficial microbes is emerging in model plants but our understanding of the genes and signals in crops and the influence of domestication on these symbiosis requires further analysis. This PhD project will explore the role of plant signals, including plant hormones and peptides, and interaction with nutrient in crops and model plants to pinpoint key genes for potential crop improvement.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Eloise Foo

Funding

Applicants will be considered for a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or Tasmania Graduate Research Scholarship (TGRS) which, if successful, provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $28,597 per annum (2021 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

If successful, international applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

As part of the application process you may indicate if you do not wish to be considered for scholarship funding.

Eligibility

The project is open to domestic (Australian and New Zealand) and international applicants who are already in Australia (onshore) at the time of submitting their application.

Due to current Australian COVID-19 travel restrictions the University cannot accept applications from international applicants who are currently overseas.

Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements and the following additional eligibility criteria specific to this project:

  • Applicants must already have been awarded a first-class Honours degree or hold equivalent qualifications or relevant and substantial research experience in an appropriate sector
  • Applicants must be able to demonstrate strong research and analytical skills

Applicants from the following disciplines are encouraged to apply:

  • Plant physiology
  • Genetics
  • Molecular biology

Selection Criteria

The project is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

Additional essential selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Research experience in the fields of molecular biology, plant physiology and/or genetics
  • Excellent written and verbal scientific communication skills
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a research team
  • Quality of academic record

Application process

There is a three-step application process:

  1. Select the project, and check you meet the eligibility and selection criteria;
  2. Contact the Primary Supervisor, Dr Eloise Foo, if you have any questions about the project; and
  3. Click here to submit an application by the closing date listed above.
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • As part of your application you will be required to submit a covering letter, a CV including 2 x referees and your project research proposal.

Following the application closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email.

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