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PhD student (M/F) in virology and plant molecular biology

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Français - Anglais

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General information

Reference : UPR2357-VERGRA-001
Workplace : STRASBOURG
Date of publication : Friday, July 31, 2020
Scientific Responsible name : David Gilmer and Véronique Ziegler-Graff
Type of Contract : PhD Student contract / Thesis offer
Contract Period : 36 months
Start date of the thesis : 1 October 2020
Proportion of work : Full time
Remuneration : 2 135,00 € gross monthly

Description of the thesis topic

The research project aims to develop an innovative methodology to carry out large-scale phenotypic screening of an already existing collection of about 3000 sugar beet genotypes belonging to a seed company. These screens aim to identify genotypes potentially resistant to beet mild yellowing virus or BMYV. This aphid-transmitted virus is a major threat to sugar beet which has increased since the ban on the use of neonicotinoids. The screening is based on a rapid and easy VIGS (Virus Induced Gene Silencing) approach. It consists in inoculating a modified virus to the genotypes and then visualizing or not the infection by switching off a host gene involved in photosynthesis.
The project will be divided into three parts: the first part will be devoted to the proof of concept on laboratory host plants, with the construction of a modified BMYV virus. The second part will develop the sugar beet screen using the company's own test lines and resistant transgenic lines as controls. The third part will be dedicated to the screening of the collection against BMYV. Genotypes showing tolerance or resistance to BMYV will be analysed to confirm this trait. Aphid inoculation tests will also be carried out to verify this trait under natural infection conditions. Finally we will test the candidate lines for infection with BMYV-related and non-related viruses to assess the specificity of resistance.

Work Context

The host team consists of a CNRS researcher, two university professors, a lecturer, two research engineers and three doctoral students. The candidate will work on a project in partnership with the seed company.
The candidate will benefit from the expertise of the team members as well as the expertise of the company's researchers (beet pathologists and geneticists). He/she will participate in the weekly meetings of exchange and presentation of the team's results and will attend the institute's seminars. He/she will also be in regular contact with the company's researchers for their expertise and the follow-up of the project.

Constraints and risks

Use of molecular biology tools and handling of radioactive probes.

Additional Information

The project is co-financed by the Région Grand Est and a seed company.
The candidate will hold a Master's degree or an engineering degree in biological sciences, and will have the following skills:
- good knowledge in molecular and cellular biology and genetics
- knowledge in plant biology
- expertise in virology will be an asset
- an interest in innovation, technological development and economic issues
- fluency in English read, written and spoken
- experimental rigor and curiosity
- a strong motivation, seriousness and assiduity
- team spirit and good interpersonal skills

To apply, a cover letter, a CV (with the contact details of at least one referee) as well as an academic transcript (M1+M2/equivalents) will be requested.

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