PhD position in Biostimulant based seed priming technologies under the supervision of Dr Sujeeth Neerakkal, BioAtlantis Ltd. and Dr Sara Farrona, Centre for Plant and Agricultural Biosciences-Ryan Institute at the University of Galway (NUI Galway), Galway, Ireland.
What are you going to do?
Biostimulant-based seed priming for improved crop growth and stress tolerance
You will work on a project to develop a novel, adaptive and sustainable seed priming technology for the seed industry and crop growers. Certain chemical and biological seed treatments can elicit ‘priming memory’ at the epigenetic level leading to enhanced survival of crops under adverse environmental conditions. The hosting institute, BioAtlantis Ltd., has recently identified naturally-derived bioactive molecules that can prime crops and act as plant oxidative stress inhibitors. This novel priming technology is proven to protect crops from adverse weather induced damages (abiotic stress) for a period of 10-14 days post application, leading to better crop yield and quality.
Your aim will be to assess the efficacy of hydro/osmopriming and seed coating techniques in the presence of natural compounds isolated from macro and microalgae, plant extracts, small organic molecules and essential trace elements. Germination, vigour, emergence-tests and field trials will be undertaken, producing phenotyping and physiological data from different species (B. napus, tomato) under control and stress conditions. You will elucidate seed priming mechanisms by working with experts in molecular priming and epigenetics in crop plants. An in-depth understanding of seed priming and germination mechanisms will be obtained via OMICs approaches (transcriptomics and epigenomics – ChIP-seq/BS-seq). The outcomes will be (a) a greater scientific understanding of molecular mechanisms of seed priming, (b) new products to enhance agricultural sustainability in the face of climate change, and (c) novel tools for efficient priming against abiotic stress. You will develop unique skill sets encompassing plant physiology, genetics, bioinformatics and biostatistics, preparing yourself for a successful career in both academia and industry.
You will actively collaborate with and will be enrolled for a Doctoral degree at NUI Galway and will also undertake research in the industrial settings at BioAtlantis Ltd, Ireland. You will perform B. napus phenotyping (DSV, Germany), ChIP-seq profiling (ENS, France) and BS-seq training and data analysis (UZH, Switzerland).
What do you have to offer?
MSc in Molecular Biology, Plant Science or related biological sciences.
Experience in molecular biology techniques and conceptual background in epigenetics and gene expression.
Experience in statistical analysis of datasets from plant trials.
Organizational skills to create and manage complex datasets.
It is a preference if you also have experience in data analysis and motivation for training in bioinformatics.
The appointment will be on a temporary basis for a period of three years. The appointment will be according to the employment rules of Ireland and should lead to a dissertation (PhD thesis). A Personal Career Development Plan will be drafted that includes the attendance to EpiSeedLink courses and meetings. The gross monthly salary will be according to the MSCA programme, taking into account the country-specific correction coefficient. Besides the salary, you will obtain a mobility allowance.
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