PhD Studentship: Identifying Host Genetic Factors Shaping Rhizosphere Microbiome During Root Disease

University of East Anglia

Legumes play an important role in the diversification and sustainability of agriculture. Peas are a valuable legume crop as they contribute to meeting the growing demand for plant protein worldwide. However, recent removal of chemical seed treatments has made the crop vulnerable to root diseases. Root rots, caused by fungal and oomycete pathogens, can result in stunted growth, reduced yields, and lower crop quality. To tackle this challenge, this PhD project is being offered that aims to understand (i) how root rot pathogens influence composition of the root exudates and subsequently shape the soil microbiome and (ii) what are the host genetic factors associated with changes in the rhizosphere microbiome induced by the pathogen. By combining cutting-edge techniques in genetics, metagenomics, and metabolomics, the project aims to develop strategies that use host genetics to promote beneficial microbial populations and makes it resilient against stress.

The project will be led by Dr. Sanu Arora with co-supervision from Dr. Jacob Malone and in collaboration with Elsoms Seeds. The successful candidate will receive training in plant pathology and genetics, metagenomics, molecular biology, and bioinformatics and will join an international and collaborative team.

The Norwich Research Park (NRP) Biosciences Doctoral Training Programme (DTP) is offering fully-funded studentships for October 2023 entry.

The programme offers postgraduates the opportunity to undertake a 4-year PhD research project whilst enhancing professional development and research skills through a comprehensive training programme.

You will join a vibrant community of world-leading researchers.

All NRPDTP CASE students undertake a three to 18-month placement with the non-academic partner during their study. The placement offers experience designed to enhance professional development.

Full support and advice will be provided by our Professional Internship team.

Students with, or expecting to attain, at least an upper second class honours degree, or equivalent, are invited to apply.

This project has been shortlisted for funding by the NRPDTP. Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed either on 16th or 17th May 2023. 

Please note that all international awards have been made for our programme for 2023 so we will not be accepting applications from international candidates, as defined by UKRI’s guidance on International Eligibility criteria for UKRI funded studentships – View Website *

Visit our website for further information on eligibility and how to apply:

Our partners value diverse and inclusive work environments that are positive and supportive. Students are selected for admission without regard to gender, marital or civil partnership status, disability, race, nationality, ethnic origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation, age or social background.


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