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Name of scholarship/program

The evolution and ecology of how mutualist bacteria protect their insect hosts from disease

Important description
The proposed project will use the pea aphid, a model organism for studies in ecology and evolution, to investigate evolution of symbiont-conferred defence. Aphid resistance to parasitoid wasps and fungal pathogens is often reliant on mutualistic symbioses between the aphid and one or more species of intracellular bacteria (secondary symbionts). We are able artificially to manipulate these symbiont infections through antibiotic curing and microinjection, which enables us to separate the influence of aphid genotype and symbiont genotype on the observed resistance phenotype. Work carried out in our lab has shown that four different species of bacteria, representing diverse bacterial groups, are capable of conferring protection against the aphid-specific fungal pathogen Pandora. The DPhil project will investigate the roles of these different bacteria in aphid resistance to fungal pathogens, aiming to link ecological characteristics (natural enemy resistance, and variation in symbiont prevalence between aphid populations) to insect-microbial interactions.

To apply please use the online application system at: http://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/postgraduate_courses/apply/ . Please remember to quote the studentship reference code DTG14. Any queries regarding the application procedure please contact graduate.office@zoo.ox.ac.uk. The closing date is 18th January 2013. Please note that as this is a studentship project, no research proposal is required, please submit a statement of purpose/personal statement in its place. The University of Oxford is an Equal Opportunities employer.

Eligibility and other criteria
European/UK Students Only:
This research project has funding attached. Funding for this project is available to citizens of a number of European countries (including the UK). In most cases this will include all EU nationals. However full funding may not be available to all applicants and you should read the full department and project details for further information.

Application deadline
*18 January 2013

Additional information, and important URL

The full award, including a stipend from NERC (currently £13,590pa) is available only to residents of the UK, or those satisfying the NERC eligibility criteria ( http://www.nerc.ac.uk ). Please see NERC website for full terms and conditions. EU applicants are eligible for a fees only award. http://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/postgraduate_courses/apply/ application_guide.html#ahow_to_apply

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