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Department of Zoology

 

PhD Studentship: Ancient genetics of rice resilience to environmental stressors

We invite applications for a 3-year PhD studentship, funded by the Carlsberg Foundation, to start in April 2020 to work in Prof Eske Willerslev's Geogenetics Group on the project: 'Ancient genetics of rice resilience to environmental stressors'.

A student stipend of £15,009 per annum and EU/Home tuition fees will be offered to a successful candidate.

Rice is the staple food for more than half of the world's population, making it one of the most important crops today and the foreseeable future. The International Rice Research Institute has recently reported that rice production will need to increase by 25 per cent over the next 25 years to meet global demand for the grain. However, current climate change is posing a major challenge to achieving this target. One key strategy to improve the resilience of rice crops to increasing environmental threats is by genetic modification, i.e., introduction of new alleles into existing rice breeds. While the introduction of extant wild type alleles into domesticates is a well-established practice, the use of 'lost' alleles from ancient genotypes remains unexplored. This is a major oversight if we consider that rice domestication dates back at least 10,000 years before the present, and that during this time period rice has been exposed to climatic perturbations comparable to those projected for the future. A promising approach for identifying the 'lost' alleles is to reconstruct the genomes of ancient breeds and ancient wild types and track their changes in response to varying selection pressures over time.

This project will examine the basis of genetic resilience of rice to environmental perturbations using ancient DNA from fossil pollen. The project will involve state-of-the-art ancient genomic techniques, both for wet lab and computational analysis. You will reconstruct, for the first time, ancient rice genomes from pollen DNA preserved in lake sediment cores and use this data to search for previously unknown genetic variants in rice genome that have been under positive (natural or artificial) selection over the last 10,000 years. You will then compare the identified variants under selection against a series of available environmental records in order to pinpoint those genetic variants that are likely associated with rice persistence to climatic perturbations and pathogen/pest pressure.

Some fieldwork in Asia may be necessary.

References:

Gutaker RM, Groen SC, Bellis ES, Choi JY, Pires IS, Bocinsky RK, et al. Genomic history and ecology of the geographic spread of rice. bioRxiv. 748178 (2019).

Pont C, Wagner S, Kremer A, Orlando L, Plomion C, Salse J. Paleogenomics: reconstruction of plant evolutionary trajectories from modern and ancient DNA. Genome Biol. 20(1):29 (2019).

Parducci L, Jørgensen T, Tollefsrud MM, Elverland E, Alm T, Fontana SL, et al. Glacial Survival of Boreal Trees in Northern Scandinavia. Science. 335:1083-6 (2012).

Potential applicants are encouraged to contact Professor Eske Willerslev (ew482@cam.ac.uk) or Dr Ana Prohaska (ap989@cam.ac.uk) before submitting an application.

Applications should be made on-line via the Cambridge Graduate Admissions Office: https://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/application-process/how-do-i-apply

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 3 years.

Please quote reference PF21210 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.

Categories: Current Vacancies

PhD Studentship - Biology&Ecology of Asia - 2020/21 (Fixed Term)

A PhD Studentship in the Biology and Ecology of Asia, covering the University Composition Fee at the Home/EU rate, a stipend at the UKRI rate for 4 years, and £5k pa towards research costs for 3 years, is offered at the Department of Zoology (University of Cambridge) to start in October 2020. Candidates must carry out research that is relevant to the biology and ecology of Asia. Projects on offer can be found on the list of available projects. Applicants are also invited to suggest their own projects; please visit our research pages (https://www.zoo.cam.ac.uk/research) for more information on our supervisors and their research areas.

For more information please visit our website via the following link: https://www.zoo.cam.ac.uk/study/postgraduate

Eligibility: Applicants to the Department of Zoology graduate programme must have:

  1. at least a 2.1 in an Honours degree or equivalent (e.g., CGPA 3.5/4.0) in a relevant subject

  2. two excellent academic references

  3. fluency in the English language- recent IELTS test with an overall band score of at least 7.0 with not less than 7.0 in speaking, listening and writing, and 6.5 in reading.

For more details of the University's entrance requirements see the Graduate Admissions website via the following link https://www.admin.cam.ac.uk/students/gradadmissions/prospec/studying/entryreq/

Candidates of any nationality/residency may apply, but a successful Overseas applicant would need to secure additional funds from other sources to cover the higher fee level. The most current estimates of costs can be found on the Graduate Admissions fees page (http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/finance).

Application procedure: To be considered for these studentships, candidates must have applied to the University of Cambridge via this link (https://www.zoo.cam.ac.uk/study/postgraduate) by 12 noon on 7 January 2020 We would advise candidates to contact their proposed supervisor directly before applying.

Please note that to be considered, you must also have uploaded all of your supporting documentation by this date.

Interviews are likely to be held in February/March 2020.

If you have any questions, please contact the Department of Zoology - Graduate Administration team (graduate@zoo.cam.ac.uk)

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 4 years.

Please quote reference PF20997 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.

Categories: Current Vacancies

PhD Studentships in Marine Biology - 2020/21 x 2 (Fixed Term)

Two PhD Studentships in Marine Biology, covering the University Composition Fee at the Home/EU rate, a stipend at the UKRI rate for 4 years, and £5k pa towards research costs for 3 years, are offered at the Department of Zoology (University of Cambridge) to start in October 2020.

Candidates must carry out research that is relevant to marine biology. Projects on offer can be found on the list of available projects. Applicants are also invited to suggest their own projects; please visit our research pages: www.zoo.cam.ac.uk/research for more information on our supervisors and their research areas.

At least one of these studentships will be under the supervision of Dr James Herbert-Read (www.zoo.cam.ac.uk/directory/dr-james-herbert-read).

For more information please visit our website: www.zoo.cam.ac.uk/study/postgraduate

Eligibility:

Applicants to the Department of Zoology graduate programme must have: 1. at least a 2.1 in an Honours degree or equivalent (e.g., CGPA 3.5/4.0) in a relevant subject 2. two excellent academic references 3. fluency in the English language ¿ recent IELTS test with an overall band score of at least 7.0 with not less than 7.0 in speaking, listening and writing, and 6.5 in reading.

For more details of the University's entrance requirements see the Graduate Admissions website: www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/application-process/entry-requirements.

Candidates of any nationality/residency may apply, but a successful overseas applicant would need to secure additional funds from other sources to cover the higher fee level. The most current estimates of costs can be found on the Graduate Admissions fees page www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/finance.

Application procedure:

To be considered for these studentships, candidates must have applied to the University of Cambridge (following the normal application process: www.zoo.cam.ac.uk/study/postgraduate) by 12 noon on 7 January 2020.

We would advise candidates to contact their proposed supervisor directly before applying.

Please note that to be considered, you must also have uploaded all of your supporting documentation by this date.

Interviews are likely to be held in February/March 2020

If you have any questions, please contact the Department of Zoology - Graduate Administration team (email: graduate@zoo.cam.ac.uk)

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 4 years.

Please quote reference PF20999 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.

Categories: Current Vacancies