Wageningen University & Research is looking for a motivated PhD candidate for the research project ‘The control of beet yellowing viruses through mature plant resistance’. The project focuses on the phenomenon of mature plant resistance (MPR) to control the spread and impact of yellowing viruses of sugar beet. MPR is a general defence mechanism whereby plants develop increasing resistance towards pests and pathogens over the course of a growing season.
Yellowing viruses of sugar beet form a diverse group, but they are all transmitted by various species of aphids. With growing age sugar beet plants produce a substance, which is apparently toxic to the aphids thus limiting aphid colony growth and subsequent virus transmission. Interestingly, yellowing viruses are reported to interfere with the production of this substance and thus promote their own transmission. The project aims to identify both the nature of the aphid toxicity factor as well as the pathway through which this factor is being produced. In addition, we aim to unravel how the viruses are able to interfere with the production of this factor.
As a PhD candidate, you will combine field- and greenhouse-based experiments with proteomic and genomics studies on plant metabolic pathways and viral gene expression. Once identified, compounds, pathways and genes will be further studied for their role in aphid lethality and you will analyse through which mechanisms viruses are able to interfere with these processes. The proposed research will contribute to a better understanding of the mechanism of mature plant resistance and increase its applicability in integrated pest management (IPM) strategies, as well as to a better fundamental knowledge on how viruses are able to manipulate plants and their insect vectors.
The candidate should have a MSc degree with a specialisation in a relevant field (e.g. Plant Physiology, Virology, Entomology, Molecular Life Sciences), who feels challenged by the aims of this project and has a strong drive for experimental research in the lab, greenhouse and field. The candidate should have experience in molecular biological research, a proven ability to organize laboratory experiments and an affinity to work with aphids and plants. Experience with bioinformatics and/or virology is advantageous. Excellent interpersonal and communication skills are essential, as well as the ability to work in a multidisciplinary team in a collaborative spirit. The candidate should be proficient in the English language (both oral and written) and is expected to assist in the education of BSc and MSc students.
For more information please contact Prof. dr.ir. René van der Vlugt, by e-mail email@example.com or telephone +31(0)317-480675.
For this position you can only apply online: www.wageningenur.nl/career up and until 25th of March 2019.
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