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The position is open in Hannele Tuominen’s group at the Department of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology from Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) which is part of Umeå Plant Science Centre (UPSC). Our main activities at UPSC are academic research in experimental plant biology, where the major aim is to understand all aspects of plants in relation to the environment in which they live.

Last day to apply: 30 April 2020

Project description:

Plant xylem tissues consist of vessel elements and fibers which deposit secondary cell walls as a part of their maturation. Lignin is an important cell wall component which reinforces the walls and confers a hydrophobic barrier that is crucial for water transport in the xylem vessels. We have recently shown that lignification is a cooperative process in which the lignin monomers are supplied to the lignifying cells by their neighboring cells. We have also identified parts of the molecular machinery that mediate the non-cell autonomous lignification of the xylem vessel elements.

The PhD project will build on these results and focus on the role of two new genes in regulation of lignification with the help of various molecular, genetic and physiological methods. The project includes analysis of these genes on the DNA, RNA, and protein levels, functional assays in Arabidopsis, protein-protein interactions and transcriptional regulation. Many of the genetic tools are either already available or underway for the project. The results will be finally transferred to our Populus tree model in order to modify lignification in tree stems in a cell-specific manner.

The applicant will be part of a larger group of PhD students and Post-Docs working in related projects. You as a PhD student will thus have great opportunities for collaboration with other researchers in related projects.

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About Umeå Plant Science Centre

Umeå Plant Science Centre (UPSC) was formed in 1999 when the Department of Plant Physiology at Umeå University and the Department of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) joined to create a strong common research environment. UPSC is an umbrella organisation administered by a board that is appointed by the two universities. The board is responsible for the strategic development of UPSC, for common infrastructure and technical platforms, and for undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral training. Although the two departments have their own administration and head of department (prefekt), the two departments share this common scientific environment and all research facilities.