In frame of the Marie Curie Initial Training Network COMREC, applications are invited for a three year PhD grant available from the 1st of April 2014 at the chair of molecular biology and biochemistry of plants (Prof. Holger Puchta) at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Germany.
The Marie Curie Initial Training Network is a European Union-funded action to offer early-stage researchers the opportunity to improve their research skills, join established research teams and enhance their career prospects. The COMREC (Control of Meiotic Recombination: Arabidopsis to Crops) network consists of 13 partners in 7 European countries. The rationale of the COMREC network is to research a broad range of processes and methods concerning the role of meiotic recombination in the breeding of crop plants in an effort to improve traditional methods. For more general information on the COMREC network, the network partners, projects and envisioned training programme please visit http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/comrec/.
The focus of our lab at the KIT (http://www.botanik.kit.edu/molbio/) is research into the basic functions of plant DNA repair and recombination in somatic and also meiotic cells as well as the application of this research for the improvement of plant biotechnology and breeding.
In recent years, we could show roles of a number of DNA-modifying enzymes, e.g. DNA helicases (The Plant Cell, 2012 24, 1448-1464), topoisomerases (PLoS Genetics, 2008 4(12): e1000285) and nucleases (The Plant Cell, 2010 22: 3318-3330), in several important processes of homologous recombination. These proteins are not only necessary to protect somatic cells from the most severe types of DNA damage, but are also involved in regulating these processes during meiotic recombination. Since the combination of traits from parents into their progeny is managed at this step of reproduction, meiotic recombination is also of great importance to breeders around the world. The next obvious step is to try and manipulate recombination pathways to change the outcomes of meiotic recombination, namely numbers and patterns of crossovers, by mutating the identified genes. Our lab uses modern artificial nuclease technologies to introduce targeted mutations at genes of interest in plants (PNAS, 2012 109, 7535-7540).
In the frame of the COMREC project, it is planned to combine those basic and applied research approaches: In his/her PhD project, the candidate will first identify homologues of genes of interest in tomato. Then, constructs will be cloned to mutagenize these genes in the tomato genome by artificial nucleases. Tomato lines harbouring the mutations will be established and analysed by a number of methods of modern molecular biology, genetics and cytology. The PhD research project should give insights into the regulation of meiotic recombination in tomato. More broadly, the project should contribute to the establishment of strategies to improve directed breeding in crop plants.
Applicants are expected to have a first class degree in biology or a related area, experience in methods of molecular biology, excellent communication skills and the ability to work independently as well as a part of a team.
The successful applicant can look forward to an interesting scientific research project using state of the art technology in a stimulating environment. He/She will be integrated in the PhD program of the faculty of chemistry and biological sciences at the KIT. Furthermore, together with the network partners, the successful applicant will be involved in the development of multidisciplinary methods and technologies via network-wide workshops, exchange of protocols and researcher training.
Due to the nature of the EU Marie Curie Initial Training Network, certain eligibility conditions apply:
Early-Stage Researchers must (at the time of recruitment by the host organisation): be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research careers and have not yet been awarded a doctoral degree.
Full-time equivalent research experience is measured from the date when they obtained the degree which would formally entitle them to embark on a doctorate, either in the country in which the degree was obtained or in the country in which the research training is provided, irrespective of whether or not a doctorate is envisaged.
Mobility: at the time of recruitment by the host organisation, researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc) in the country of their proposed host organisation for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the reference date. Short stays such as holidays and/or compulsory national service are not taken into account. As far as international European interest organisations or international organisations are concerned, this mobility rule does not apply to the hosting of eligible researchers. However the appointed researcher must not have spent more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to their recruitment in the same appointing organisation.Note: the mobility rule applies to the partner where the researcher is recruited, and not to partners to where the researcher is may be seconded as part of their training.
Annual salaries: Brussels rate 38,000 Euros per annum, to be modified by the EC country coefficient depending on the host country.
For more information see http://www.botanik.kit.edu/molbio/911.php.
To apply, please use the form provided at http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/comrec and send one filled in copy to holger.puchta from kit.edu
and simultaneously a second copy to the COMREC Project Manager Rachael Batchelor at r.a.batchelor from bham.ac.uk until 31st of January 2014.
Prof. Dr. Holger Puchta
Chair Botany II
Plant Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Hertzstr.16 Geb. 06.35
Tel. ++49-721-608-48894 (direct)
Tel. ++49-721-608-43833 (Secretary)
holger.puchta from kit.eduhttp://www.botanik.kit.edu/molbio/