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2 PhD Positions, Genetical Genomics of Insect-Plant Interactions, Netherlands

Candidates should be a molecular biologist or plant biotechnologist with affinity to ecology of insect-plant interactions or an insect-plant ecologist that has experience with molecular techniques

Study Subject: Biology, Plant Biotechnology or Plant Sciences
Employer: Wageningen University
Level: PhD
Scholarship Description: A major impediment in selecting resistant crop lines is that large numbers of crop lines need to be screened for the effects they have on pest insects. Moreover, the mechanisms of resistance to one pest are not necessarily also effective to another pest so that different pest species require their own approach. The goal of this research programme is to develop an automated methodology to screen large numbers of crop lines for resistance to two major pest species in Dutch greenhouse crops, aphids and thrips, and identify the responsible genetic loci by a genetical genomics approach. The method will be developed for Arabidopsis by taking advantage of the HapMap collection of ca 400 Arabidopsis accessions that have been collected globally and genotyped for 250.000 SNPs. Tools will be developed to objectively quantify differences in insect resistance in a rapid and reliable way, and subsequently genes and molecular markers will be identified for different resistance mechanisms in the model plant Arabidopsis. Subsequently, this knowledge will be transferred to ornamental and other crops. In this multidisciplinary proposal, the mechanisms will be characterized at the molecular, biochemical, physiological and ecological level and can subsequently, together with the novel insect behaviour assay systems, be used to screen large numbers of lines of various crop species for orthologous genes and markers involved in similar resistance mechanisms. For this research programme we will employ 2 PhD students.

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Eligibility:
An MSc degree in Biology, Plant Biotechnology or Plant Sciences with a multidisciplinary profile. You should be a molecular biologist or plant biotechnologist with affinity to ecology of insect-plant interactions or an insect-plant ecologist that has experience with molecular techniques. Experience with investigating arthropod behaviour, statistics and computer technology will be considered an additional value. You should be a team player with demonstrable experience in collaboration with ecologists, molecular biologists and/or entomologists. Excellent communication skills.
Scholarship Application Deadline: 16 January 2011
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