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PhD Studentship/Marie Sklodowska-Curie ESR Fellow (Fixed Term)

We invite applications for a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Early Stage Researcher (MSC-ESR) Fellowship to start in or after April 2017 to work with Professor Beverley Glover exploring how plants control the patterning of the folds in their surface cuticle to generate functional optical and tactile effects. The project will form part of an EC Marie Sklodowska Curie Training Network (PlaMatSu) that brings together plant biologists, polymer chemists and soft matter physicists in academia and industry from across Europe to explore the use of plant materials in order to develop novel bio-inspired materials and surfaces.

The holder of this Fellowship will work within Professor Beverley Glover’s research group in the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of Cambridge. They will use a combination of molecular, transgenic and transcriptomic approaches to explore how Hibiscus trionum, a plant species with regular striations of the petal cuticle that generate a visible structural colour effect, achieves developmental control of cuticle patterning. The Fellow will use transgenic approaches to test a mechanical model of cuticle patterning and explore the transcriptome of petal tissue with striated cuticle in comparison to petal tissue with smooth cuticle.

This will be an interdisciplinary project, and will include opportunities for secondments with European partners. Specifically, the Fellow will spend some time in partner labs in both Germany and Switzerland, learning a variety of techniques that could include modelling of cuticle behaviour, analysis of the effect of different cuticle patterns on insect grip, and optical characterisation of petal surfaces. There will also be the opportunity to engage in a number of workshops and meetings with the other project partners, to develop a wide set of research-focused and transferable skills. Further information about the PlaMatSu network can be found at www.plamatsu.eu.


Applicants must satisfy the EC’s eligibility requirements for MSC-ESR Fellowships, and must not have resided in the UK for more than 12 months in the last three years. They should have (or expect to obtain) at least the equivalent of a UK upper second class honours degree (and preferably a Masters degree) in plant sciences, developmental biology or evolutionary biology. Applicants must have a demonstrated interest in plant developmental biology, and should be familiar with the basic patterning mechanisms of plants.

The Fellowship is offered in conjunction with a PhD position at the University of Cambridge, and will be subject to the Fellow satisfying the University’s admissions requirements for PhD study. The Fellowship will provide a salary that includes a living allowance of around €40,000 p.a. plus a mobility allowance of around €6,425 p.a.

How to Apply:

  • Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 3 years in the first instance.
  • Applications should include a cover letter, CV, detailed academic transcripts and the contact details for at least two academic referees, and should be sent by email to the PlaMatSu administration office (plamatsu@unifr.ch), quoting “PlaMatSu-Cambridge” in the subject line. The closing date for this position is 28 February 2017.
  • Closing date: 28 February 2017
  • For informal queries regarding this post, please contact Professor Beverley Glover (bjg26@cam.ac.uk).
  • Please quote reference PD10237 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University values diversity and is committed to equality of opportunity.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.

Application Deadline – 28th February 2017

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