Interested in using cell biology to study how plants interact with pathogens?
For many fungal, oomycete and bacterial plant pathogens successful infection of hosts is dependent upon their ability to colonize host inter cellular spaces, suppress plant immunity and gain access to the host cell to obtain nutrients. Stomata regulate gas exchange and transpiration during photosynthesis but are also a route by which pathogens gain entry to leaf tissues. To counter this, guard cells have evolved the ability to detect microorganisms, and microbe-induced closure of stomata is an essential layer of the plant’s immune system. However, closure of stomata against pathogens must be balanced with the need to regulate stomatal movement in response to other biotic and abiotic stresses and also the demands of physiological processes.
Despite the important contribution of stomata to plant immunity, the pathways underlying stomatal behavior and their interaction with the pathways controlling immunity remain largely unknown. We are seeking to dissect these pathways by asking the following major questions:
What are the molecular components of pathogen-induced stomatal closure? How does pathogen-induced stomatal closure intersect with other signaling pathways controlling stomatal apertures? What is the cell biology of stomatal closure?
We have developed a novel high throughput imaging method, which allows us to monitor and quantify the dynamics of stomatal behaviour. Combining the power of our high throughput imaging platform with cell biology, genetics, chemical interference and computational modeling we will dissect the regulation of stomatal apertures to answer the above questions.
We recently obtained funding to address these questions and are seeking for applicants at postdoctoral, research assistant, or PhD student level to fill two positions.
If you are a highly motivated researcher or student with a background in genetics and/or cell biology and interested in stomatal biology, please submit your application together with a covering letter detailing your motivation and research interests to Silke Robatzek (robatzek@TSL.ac.uk).