Ph.D. studentships available.

Train with Andrew Millar and the lab in SynthSys, Edinburgh's Centre for Synthetic and Systems Biology, to deliver world-class research with an interdisciplinary perspective.

Project areas

  1. Testing the benefits of the biological clock for plant growth in a changing environment.
    Details linked here. Related projects can be discussed. BBSRC Eastbio deadline now past.

  2. Multi-scale modelling, from whole-cell models to Digital Organisms.
    Related to the iCASE project with Simulistics (below), collaborating with several groups in SynthSys to build upon current whole-cell models in micro-organisms.

  3. Data infrastructure for Plant Systems Biology.
    Several projects are possible to develop the BioDare and PlaSMo resources for Systems Biology, using current computer science and bioinformatics methods.

  4. Phosphoproteomics and kinase signalling in circadian clocks, with Thierry Le Bihan.
    Our recent discovery of a Non-Transcriptional Oscillator offers exciting possibilities to study its mechanism, function and coupling to transcriptional clocks in plants and the tiny alga, Ostreococcus tauri.

  5. Transcriptional regulation in circadian clocks and photoperiodism.
    Understanding the mechanism of the plant circadian clock and its outputs to metabolism, flowering and growth control, using molecular biology and modelling.

  6. Interdisciplinary Research Management.
    SynthSys' platform in research management offers several Ph.D. projects in the general area of Nurturing Interdisciplinarity, for example in project management, institutional change, or knowledge translation.

Students with first-class academic qualifications in a numerate discipline can contact to discuss projects in the areas above. Funding application deadline in mid-December each year, for Ph.D.'s starting in the following October; enquiries welcome at any time from candidates with funding. Only online applications can be accepted for most studentships:

Specifically-funded projects

Predicting Plant Growth, from Genes to Organism. (funding deadline passed)

BBSRC iCASE project, with Simulistics Ltd. - details are linked here, for Life Scientists, Computer Science/Maths/Physicists/Engineers. Contact for informal enquiries.

We invite applications to a groundbreaking PhD studentship, which provides dual-expertise training in the interdisciplinary environment of SynthSys, with experience at Simulistics Ltd.  The project is fully-funded for UK and resident EU students, through a BBSRC industrial CASE studentship.

Understanding the growth of a plant in a changing environment is demanding, because plant development and metabolism respond sensitively to the local conditions. We have linked Crop Science and Systems Biology approaches to understand whole-plant growth, in the first ‘Framework Model’ of the laboratory model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. The model predicts whole-plant biomass, from detailed molecular mechanisms, and was recently validated in independent experiments. This project will develop the next-generation model, both as a tool for fundamental biology, and to enable synthetic biology designs that take account of the complex regulation in the plant host. You will be trained to use a range of cutting-edge models, building on the concrete example of our Framework Model. The model will be extended to represent larger, molecular networks that control biomass under a wider range of environmental conditions, with  international collaborators and Simulistics’ Simile software. You will validate the model in new experiments, using Arabidopsis mutants and environmental control will test the model’s predictive power, and to disseminate the models in the international research community.

Student profile: background in Biology, Geoscience,  Agricultural Engineering or a suitably numerate discipline (e.g. computer science, engineering, applied maths or physics). Computer skills essential; programming experience desirable but not essential.

The supervisory team:  Prof. Andrew Millar FRS, School of Biological Sciences (main supervisor); Prof. Vincent Danos, School of Informatics, Director of SynthSys; Dr. Robert Muetzelfeldt, Simulistics Ltd.

Online applications, deadline passed:

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