oppotunity: Doctoral position in France

Thierry Simonneau simonnea at ensam.inra.fr
Wed Sep 1 06:38:57 EST 2004

Dear colleague,
I am looking for a motivated student who would be interested in applying
for a funded PhD position in France. Could you please forward this job
description to any interested candidate.
Thanking you in anticipation,

Three-year PhD position in plant physiology at Montpellier, France.

Analysis and modelling of leaf growth responses to soil and atmospheric
water deficits. Novel investigations based on the gating properties of

To analyse drought tolerance in plants, our laboratory (LEPSE) aims at
modelling leaf growth responses of plants to soil water deficit (Tardieu,
Trends Plant Sci., 2003 8:9-14). We have shown that atmospheric (vapour
pressure) deficit strongly modifies the response to soil drying, but how
these two influences combine to reduce leaf growth remains to be
elucidated. In this proposal, we want to identify the dominating processes
involved in the combined influences of atmospheric and soil water deficits
in order to integrate them in our modelling approach at the whole plant
level. We propose to associate the experience and the facilities of the
LEPSE with that of a neighbouring team specialised in the molecular,
physiological, and genetic analysis of plant membranes aquaporins (C.
Maurel, BPMP Montpellier). From one hand (LEPSE), it has recently been
evidenced that high evaporative demand and soil drying induce significant
decreases in cell turgor in the growing zones of maize leaves. Thus, cell
turgor is likely to play a crucial role in the response of leaf growth to
water deficits. From the other hand (BPMP), unique gating properties of
plant aquaporins by cytosolic pH has recently been discovered
(Tournaire-Roux et al., Nature, 2003). This mechanism provides a novel
possibility for manipulating plant hydraulic architecture and offers a
unique opportunity to dissect the mechanistic basis of leaf growth
responses to drought. Aquaporin function in Arabidopsis and maize plants
will be modified by acid load treatments or using transgenic plants that
overexpress deregulated aquaporins. This proposal gathers a unique set of
expertise (transport biophysics, molecular and environmental physiology) to
gain new insights into the bases of plant tolerance to drought.

Research environment.
The student will interact with a dynamic group with diverse skills in
environmental plant physiology. The LEPSE (Laboratoire d'Ecophysiologie des
Plantes sous Stress Environnementaux, http://www.montpellier.inra.fr/lepse)
is within the Ecole Nationale Superieure d'Agronomie
(http://www.agro-montpellier.fr/) and the Institut National de la Recherche
Agronomique (http://www.montpellier.inra.fr/) that is equipped with
state-of-art facilities in plant physiology and molecular biology.

For the position, a master degree or equivalent with strong background in
(environmental) plant physiology is required. Motivated candidates with
skills in mathematical modelling and basic knowledge of biophysics are
encouraged to apply.

Salary We can offer a monthly payment of Euros 1072 after taxes (funded by

Contact. Please send your application, including CV and references to Dr T.
Simonneau, LEPSE, 2 place Viala, 34060 Montpellier cedex 1, France. Phone
+33 4 99 61 27 52 or fax +33 67 52 21 16. Email: simonneau at ensam.inra.fr
Thierry Simonneau
Directeur du Laboratoire d'Ecophysiologie des Plantes sous Stress
(LEPSE), UMR INRA-ENSAM 2, place Viala, 34060 Montpellier cedex 1
tel 33 4 99 61 27 52      fax 33 4 67 52 21 16

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