[Taxacom] Graduate position: University of St Andrews, Secondary Metabolism in Lichens
db60 at st-andrews.ac.uk
Sun Feb 8 12:40:32 CST 2009
We are seeking applicants for a PhD position at the School of Biology,
University of St Andrews.
SECONDARY METABOLISM IN LICHENS - LINKING GENES TO METABOLITES
Keywords: bioinformatics, evolutionary biology, secondary metabolism,
genomics, environmental biology, taxonomy.
Lichens are a symbiosis between a fungus and an alga or cyanobacterium.
Lichens form a major component of many environments, particularly
extreme environments such as desert and arctic regions. Secondary
metabolites are chemicals produced by an organism that are not directly
involved in growth, but are beneficial to its well-being, for example
through interactions between species such as competition and defense.
Many secondary metabolites are useful to humans, for example as
antibiotics or dyes.
Secondary metabolites are particularly common in lichen-forming fungi.
An understanding of the biochemical detail of secondary metabolism, its
regulation, and the evolutionary forces acting on these are often poorly
understood. The gene families involved in secondary metabolism are often
known, but the link between a specific secondary metabolite and the gene
coding for the specific enzyme activity to make it, is often unknown.
This proposal aims to link specific secondary metabolites to their
cognate genes. The project will focus on investigating the evolution of
the polyketide class of secondary metabolites, and the underlying
biosynthetic and regulatory genes, in Porpidia. Porpidia is a
lichen-forming fungal genus in which secondary metabolites vary both
between, and within, species. The student will carry out "wet"
laboratory work and some fieldwork, and will develop and use novel
bioinformatics algorithms to integrate data on secondary metabolites and
Supervisors: Dr Daniel Barker, Dr Terry Smith and Dr Shiela Unkles
Informal enquiries to Daniel Barker, db60 at st-andrews.ac.uk
For further details, including how to apply, please see:
IMPORTANT NOTE ON FUNDING
A successful candidate would receive funding (covering fees and stipend)
via a Natural Environment Research Council Doctoral Training Grant. This
funding is ONLY possible for candidates who meet the criteria described
In particular, please note the section "Residence" (pp. 3-6).
The University of St Andrews is a charity registered in Scotland :
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