Fully funded PhD project for international students
The Faculty of Life Sciences in Bristol offers 5 fully funded 4-year PhD studentships for a start in the 2022/23 academic year. As part of this scheme, we are offering an interdisciplinary project to investigate how carnivorous plants make natural glues to trap insects:
Biosynthesis, secretion and trapping function of sticky carnivorous plant fluids
If we understand how the trap fluids work and which genes control their glue-like properties, we might even one day be able to ‘repurpose’ them for the environmentally friendly protection of crops and soils. For instance, sticky plant secretions can immobilise or kill pest insects, or help to improve the cohesion between roots and soil, thereby combating erosion. This project combines methods from physics and biomechanics with the latest molecular biology techniques to pave the way for this bold dream. You will work with engineers, plant biomechanists and molecular biologists to characterise the viscoelastic properties of trap fluids from carnivorous sundews (Drosera) and pitcher plants (Nepenthes), quantify their capacity for insect retention, and unravel the genetic regulators of their biosynthesis and secretion. You will acquire an interdisciplinary skillset of state-of-the-art scientific methods, ranging from fluid rheometry and retention force measurements to transcriptome analysis and gene transformation techniques. Your project will be integrated in an international collaborative framework aiming to identify beneficial traits of carnivorous plants for agricultural use and transfer them into crops and model plants.
This project is open to international/overseas applicants only. This includes EU students. If you wish to apply, please email us with 1. a CV (including any marks or transcripts from your academic studies so far – please with an explanation of the grading system in the country where you studied as these can be vastly different between countries), and 2. a Letter of Motivation, explaining your motivation to do a PhD and to work on this specific project, and your skills and qualifications for the project. Further details on the funding scheme and how to formally apply to the University of Bristol can be found here:
Applications for the postdoc position in our lab have now closed. However, we encourage you to get in touch if you feel strongly about working with us, whether as a student, post-doc, research fellow or volunteer. We would love to hear your project ideas, discuss possible funding sources, and support your application for independent funding as much as we can.
We strongly believe in the power of collaboration. From our experience, the best science emerges from multiple minds with complimentary experience and skills combining forces towards a common goal. Plus, working together is far more fun than trying to outcompete each other! We currently maintain collaborations with scientists as close as just one floor down in our building, to as far as the tropical kingdom of Brunei or the West coast of Canada. If you are interested in collaborating with us, please do not hesitate to get in touch and discuss your ideas!