Could you imagine not having at least one of the above to get you through the week? If badnaviruses, a highly diverse group of plant DNA viruses, have their wicked way, that may become a possibility. Badnaviruses are, like the names suggests, extremely bad news for yams, grapevines and cocoa, but luckily help is at hand.
Here at NRI there is a new PhD project which aims to study diseases caused by globally emerging badnaviruses that could threaten the future of the key ingredients of our beloved cake, wine and chocolate. NRI is currently recruiting a postgraduate research student to undertake this project.
Badnaviruses are cunning by nature, hiding successfully in their chosen ‘host’ plant genome which makes them hard to detect. If you come to NRI to undertake this PhD project, you will gather field samples in the UK and Africa and, using high-throughput sequencing (HTS) technologies, your research will help uncover the full extent of virus diversity in each crop. HTS analysis will also be used to understand the impact of specific environmental conditions associated with climate change on badnavirus infections.
You will learn how to develop and optimise fool-proof diagnostic methods; to detect and distinguish between true virus infections and integrated badnaviruses and you’ll also study recombination (i.e. the ability to generate new virus variants) in badnaviruses present in each crop that could lead to the evolution of strains of altered virulence.
Research activities will be supported by a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation project grant awarded to NRI. Additional funding support will be provided by NIAB-EMR and the UK’s Viticulture Research Consortium. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for an interview in person or via Skype video conference.
Bursary available (subject to satisfactory performance): Year 1: £15,009 Year 2: In line with UKRI rate Year 3: In line with UKRI rate. In addition, the successful candidate will receive a contribution to tuition fees equivalent to the university’s Home/EU rate, currently £4,327, for the duration of their scholarship. International applicants will need to pay the remainder tuition fee for the duration of their scholarship. This fee is subject to an annual increase.
Closing date for applications: midnight UTC on 15th August 2019
Lead Supervisor Dr Goncalo Silva