PhD Studentship - Control of cyst nematodes by characterisation and manipulation of the biosynthesi

6 days left

United Kingdom
Mar 24, 2016
Oct 28, 2016
Organization Type
University and College
Full Time

PhD Studentship – Control of cyst nematodes by characterisation and manipulation of the biosynthesis of the egg hatching compounds

Biological Sciences Research

Location:  Highfield Campus
Closing Date:   Friday 28 October 2016
Reference:  712216BJ

PhD Supervisor: Lindy Holden-Dye, co supervisors:  Vincent O'Connor & Hywel Morgan

(Joint with the James Hutton Institute, Dundee)

Application Deadline: open

PhD Description: 

How to feed the world is an increasingly important challenge for the 21st century. Talented scientists with the flexibility to cut across disciplines are sorely needed to address this. This studentship will deploy fundamental principles of neuroscience and biochemistry, combined with plant sciences and experimental platforms from the exciting new discipline of microfluidics to understand the behaviours of pests that devastate food crops world-wide.  Previous students trained in this area have progressed to employment in the crop protection industry.

Plant parasitic nematodes (PPNs) are microscopic worms that invade plant roots causing $157 billion of crop losses globally per annum. They are an increasing problem due to reduction in chemical nematicide use because of environmental concerns and the lack of commercially attractive cultivars with resistance. There is a pressing need to develop alternative and/or integrated strategies to tackle this continuing threat. Hatching is a pivotal, but poorly understood, stage in the parasitic life cycle of these nematodes.  Infective juveniles must hatch from eggs in the soil in order to invade the root of their host plant. Manipulating hatching, either blocking it, or inducing ‘suicide hatching’ i.e. when no crop is present is a route to crop protection. Therefore this project will bring together expertise at the Hutton Institute (Dr Vivian Blok) and an interdisciplinary partnership between University of Southampton Biological Sciences (Profs Holden-Dye and O'Connor) and Hybrid Biodevices Group (Prof Hywel Morgan) providing a student with the opportunity to investigate the elusive phenomenon of hatching in PPNs. An exciting opportunity for the project will be training in microfluidics, to develop state-of-the-art approaches to screen for key enhancers and inhibitors of hatching. In addition, part of the project will be based at the James Hutton Institute providing an excellent opportunity for training at this world-renowned agricultural research institute and a promising route to employment.

The project is part of the prestigious Vice Chancellor's Scholarship scheme that supports exciting new developments in interdisciplinary research.

It is fully funded for 3 years for a UK or EU applicant. International applicants may apply but will not be funded in full. 

We invite applications from students who have or expect to obtain at least an upper second class degree in Biological Sciences, Biomedical Engineering or allied subjects. An additional requirement is that the student has Physics and/or Mathematics at 'A' level.

Funding will cover fees and a stipend at current research council rates of £ 14,296 per annum.

Applications for an MPhil/PhD in Biological Sciences should be submitted online at:

Please place Lindy Holden-Dye name in the field for proposed supervisor.

General enquiries should be made Lindy Holden-Dye at  Any queries on the application process should be made to

Applications will be considered in the order that they are received, and the position will be considered filled when a suitable candidate has been identified

The University of Southampton and the Centre for Biological Sciences both hold an Athena Swan Bronze Award, demonstrating their commitment to provide equal opportunities and to advance the representation of women in STEM/M subjects: science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine. Due consideration will be given to applicants who have taken a career break. University benefits include onsite childcare facilities, state-of-the-art on-campus sports, arts and culture facilities, a full programme of events and a range of staff discounts.