PhD Scholarship in "Analysis of an alternative vernalisation mechanism in plants using the model legume Medicago truncatula"

This Marsden PhD project based in Auckland, New Zealand, involves the experimental study of vernalisation, the promotion of flowering by extended exposure to cold temperatures, in the model legume Medicago truncatula using genetic and genomic approaches.

Vernalisation promotes flowering in Medicago, but the mechanism is different from other eudicots as for example Medicago lacks the FLC gene which is the key vernalisation target in Arabidopsis. The main focus will be to use techniques such as ChIP-Seq to analyse the epigenome in wild type and PHD domain-mutant plants with an altered response to vernalisation.  Functional analysis of candidate regulators of vernalisation and flowering time will be carried out.

Students applying for this position will have experience in the experimental study of plant molecular processes using genetic, molecular and genomic tools and preferably bioinformatic skills for handling large data sets. The successful PhD candidate must be able to meet the requirements of, and enrol in, the University of Auckland’s PhD programme.  Suitably qualified domestic or international students are welcome to apply.

The successful applicant will be based for the duration of their PhD studies at the Putterill Flowering Lab with established Medicago and Arabidopsis growth facilities in the School of Biological Sciences, The University of Auckland.

The University of Auckland is New Zealand’s most highly world ranked and largest with >40,000 students and is in the city centre of Auckland, a vibrant, multicultural city with beaches and wilderness on its doorstep. 

This Marsden-funded project involves collaboration with the epigenetic and flowering specialist Professor Yuehui He and the student will carry out research visits to his lab in China at the Shanghai Center for Plant Stress Biology (PSC), Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The scholarship: This scholarship is available now. Tenure is for 36 months with the value of up to $NZ 27,500 stipend per annum plus compulsory domestic fees of up to $NZ 7600 per annum.

To apply:  Please apply by contacting Professor Joanna Putterill and include:

  • Your CV
  • Copies of academic transcripts
  • A brief (1 page maximum) statement of research experience
  • The names and e-mail contacts of at least two people who can provide professional letters of reference.

The closing date for applications is 22 March 2018.