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Name of scholarship/program

Pre-colonisation of strawberry runners and tray plants with arbuscular mycorrihizal fungi to manage Verticillium wilt

Important description
A three-year PhD studentship is available at East Malling Research with the funding from HDC, Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board. The research will be mainly based within the Plant Pathology Group, East Malling Research (EMR) although research training, registration and some aspects of the research will be conducted at the University of York. The student will be jointly supervised by Prof Xiangming Xu of EMR, and Dr Angela Hodge and Prof Peter Young at the University of York.

The aim of this PhD studentship is to investigate whether pre-colonisation of strawberry planting materials with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) can significantly Verticillium wilt. Because of recent or impending withdrawal of chemical fumigation products, Verticillium wilt in strawberry is highlighted by the industry as a key problem. One approach is to exploit AM associations, a mutualistic relationship between soil fungi and the majority of plant species, which has been shown to confer a number of benefits for their host plant including enhanced pathogen resistance. This proposal will investigate if AM pre-colonised planting material leads to reduced wilt development on strawberry, focusing on the interaction among strawberry cultivar, AMF species, and V. dahliae strains with differing degrees of aggressiveness, on AMF colonisation of strawberry, wilt development and plant performance. Transcriptomic and histological approaches will also be to investigate the genetic and physiological bases for wilt suppression. Combined use of AMF and biofumigation-based control methods may also be studied to determine their joint effect on wilt development.

Qualifications in biological/microbiological/plant/soil science disciplines are required. Students applying for this studentship should normally have obtained an upper second class honours degree (or equivalent). International students may require an English language certificate.

Eligibility and other criteria
This research project has funding attached. Applications for this project are welcome from suitably qualified candidates worldwide. Funding may only be available to a limited set of nationalities and you should read the full department and project details for further information.

Application deadline
*30 April 2013

Additional information, and important URL

Full funding available for UK/EU students with a maintenance grant paid at standard Research Council rates (tax-free stipend starting at £13,726 per year), non-EU citizens will need to cover the difference in tuition fees. The closing date for applications is Tuesday 30 April 2013. To apply please visit http://www.york.ac.uk/biology/postgraduate/research/funding/funded-studentships/

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