PhD - Unravelling the potential of epigenetics in the adaptation to warmer temperature of crop...

Updated: 2 months ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 10 Jan 2022

La Caixa INPhINIT Incoming Fellowships are dedicated and offered to early-stage researchers of any nationality to pursue their PhD studies in research centers accredited with the Spanish Seal of Excellence Severo Ochoa, María de Maeztu or Health Institute Carlos III and Portuguese units participating in the program.

  • 3 years contract

  • Candidates cannot have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Spain for more than twelve months in the three years immediately prior to the deadline for application.

  • Program includes a training programme on transversal skills aiming in widening the chances for personal development, not only in academia, but also in industry.

  • Candidates must be in the first four years of their research career and must not have previously obtained a PhD degree or be in a position to apply for one

  • Candidates must accredit an advanced level of English (B2 or higher)

  • Competitive salary with additional amount for research costs and a €7500 prize for fellows who deposit the thesis within 6 months after the third year of the fellowship has ended

Research Project / Research Group Description

Under the current situation of climate change, the mechanisms by which crops are able to sense temperature fluctuations and adapt to them by reprogramming gene expression, is becoming of special interest. Flowering time is a main determinant of fruit and seed yield, and inappropriate flowering time due to warmer ambient temperatures results in detrimental effects on production. An intricate network of pathways finely tunes the time of flowering in response to endogenous and environmental signals. Among various molecular regulatory mechanisms, chromatin remodelling processes play a central role in the establishment of gene expression patterns that globally control the floral transition. Exchange of the histone variant H2A.Z plays a central role in the flowering responses of plants to warm temperature. However, little is known about the regulatory function exerted by histone modifications in this response. The objective of this PhD project is to explore the role of chromatin dynamics in facilitating the thermoregulation of flowering time in Brassicaceae, using Arabidopsis thaliana and the related-crop Brassica napus, one of the world’s most important sources of high-quality vegetable oils for human nutrition and biofuels. Specifically, we aim at understanding the potential link between histone modifications and H2A.Z nucleosome dynamics in the regulation of flowering gene expression by warm ambient temperatures in Brassicaceae.

Our research group uses multidisciplinary state-of-the-art approaches to reveal the molecular mechanisms involved in the regulation of plant developmental transitions. We have long-standing experience in the study of developmental transitions with adaptive value for plant species as well as significant impact on crop yield. Using both model species and crops, we are focused on identifying key molecular mechanisms that allow crops to adapt their development to cope better with environmental fluctuations.

Job position description

This ground-breaking PhD project is designed to identify novel breeding targets that could enhance the adaptation of crops to suboptimal environmental conditions associated with climate. In order to address the key role of chromatin organization in the modulation of flowering in response to warm ambient temperature, we have designed an innovative research program focused on the participation of histone acetylation/deacetylation mechanisms in the control of this yield related developmental process under warm temperature conditions by using a combination of pharmacological and genetic approaches in both Arabidopsis and oilseed rape. We will also explore the function of histone acetylation in the control of gene expression during the promotion of flowering by temperature in Brassicaceae, performing state of the art genomic and epigenomic techniques in plants grown at different temperatures. These analyses will help us to unveil the contribution of histone acetylation and nucleosome dynamics in the regulation of the thermo-flowering response. The utilization of oilseed rape will facilitate the identification of putative candidate genes to manipulate flowering time in Brassica plants and improve their adaptation to changing temperature conditions. During the training the student will obtain a comprehensive view of epigenetic gene regulation and development in plants, and strong background in modern plant biology. In addition, the young researcher will get a sound formation in molecular, biochemical and cell biology approaches, and also in the bioinformatics analysis of next-generation sequence datasets. This will provide the trainee with the multidisciplinary skills required for the next generation of scientists capable of addressing complex biological questions with a variety of state-of-the-art tools, including big data analysis. This research program provides the opportunity to contact leading scientific groups in plant sciences and agrifood companies.


Prof. José Antonio Jarillo Quiroga



View or Apply

Similar Positions