PhD Studentship in Plant Biology and Bioinformatics Massey University, New Zealand

PhD Studentship in Plant Biology and Bioinformatics
Massey University, New Zealand
Camellia flower blight: Mechanisms of resistance
Application Deadline 15-Nov-10

Camellia Flower Blight is a major fungal disease problem for growers and exporters in many parts of the world. Infected camellia flowers show the brown discolouration characteristic of this disease. Fungicide applications, and other horticultural methods aimed at reducing disease levels, have failed to provide adequate control.

The development of resistant camellia varieties is the best long-term strategy for management of this disease. Some Camellia species and varieties show resistance but this trait is largely confined to smaller, less showy flowers. There is the possibility to create hybrids and to carry out crosses and screen for resistance, but genetic resistance markers are required to enable screening to be carried out in a realistic time-frame.

A PhD position is available to identify resistance responses and molecular markers for resistance to flower blight in Camellia spp. using next generation sequencing technology. Markers developed in this project will form the basis for subsequent marker-assisted selective breeding. In addition to bioinformatics analysis, the project will involve field collection of samples, microbiological and plant pathology work in the laboratory, molecular cloning and PCR.

Principal supervisors will be Drs Paul Dijkwel and Rosie Bradshaw (Institute of Molecular BioSciences, Massey University) with advisory input from breeders and growers associated with the Camellia Memorial Trust. This team combines internationally-recognized expertise in molecular and classical plant pathology, plant physiology and bioinformatics. Training will involve the acquisition of valuable skills in high-throughput sequence data handling and their application to the critically important area of plant health, providing a solid foundation for further relevant international employment opportunities.

Applicants should have a background in bioinformatics or in plant biology with a genuine interest in bioinformatics and hold, or expect to hold, a high grade Honours or Masters-level degree (or equivalent) in relevant life sciences.

A Leslie and Gladys Riggall Scholarship is available for this PhD project. The scholarship is NZ$26,000 per annum (tax-free) including University enrollment fees.

Applications should be e-mailed to p.dijkwel [at] and should include:

  • A cover letter outlining your interests in relation to this research
  • A full CV, including grades obtained during under and postgraduate studies
  • The names and contact details of two academic referees.

The process of reviewing applications will begin beginning of November 2010. via