Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Doctoral Training Programme

Agriculture and Food Security projects


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Please note that the list of projects available will be increased over the next few weeks so please check frequently. Project details may also be subject to change before September 2017.


BBSRC Doctoral Training Partnerships




View all Agriculture and Food Security projects

Understanding and harnessing endosymbiont infections to boost the benefits of invertebrate biocontrol

Use of next-generation sequencing techniques and bioinformatic analysis to identify and characterise bacterial endosymbionts in invertebrate hosts.

Assessing the potential of ladybird alkaloids as pesticides

The mini project will be closely related to the main project but will focus more on the electrophysiological techniques that will be employed. The student will patch clamp the TE671 human muscle cell line and obtain nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) currents in response to ACh. They will also express mammalian nAChR subunits that are known to function in Xenopus oocytes and measure some of their basic electrophysiological properties using two-electrode voltage-clamp. On successful completion of this part of the project they will investigate the actions of a novel alkaloid alongside an antagonist known to inhibit nAChRs.

The effect of diet on oxidative stress, immune gene expression and parasite resistance in fish

Students will carry out a short-term dietary manipulation on lab-raised stickleback, culture immune (head-kidney) cells from different treatment groups and conduct fluorescence-based cellular assays of oxidative stress on these cell populations.

Determining the Incidence of the Sheep Liver Fluke (Fasciola hepatica) in Snail Intermediate Hosts.

Freshwater snail intermediate hosts of the Family Lymnaeidae will be collected from local populations and parasites isolated, with emphasis on the sheep liver fluke Fasciola hepatica.

Developing a bovine monoclonal antibody platform

The project will characterise bovine monoclonal antibodies for their ability to neutralise important livestock virus infections. Techniques will include antibody cloning, expression and analysis using live virus culture.

Assessing the risk of bornavirus infection in UK livestock and interrogating wildlife reservoirs

Bornaviruses are a cause of serious neurological disease in a variety of humans, animals and birds. In livestock, especially sheep, infection invariably leads to death in cases where overt symptoms are evident. The cost to the farming industry, especially in parts of the world where the virus is thought to be endemic, is considerable.

Routes to novel pesticides: production of alkaloid defensive chemicals in biocontrol ladybird species

Use of next-generation sequencing techniques and bioinformatic analysis to identify and characterise alkaloid synthesis pathways in Adalia bipunctata (Nottingham). Training in analytical chemistry techniques for the analysis of ladybird alkaloids – GC, HPLC, GC-MS, quantification and purification. Use of biosynthetic substrates (unlabelled, labelled) for functional characterisation of the ladybird alkaloid biosynthesis genes (Rothamsted)
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Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Doctoral Training Programme

The University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

Tel: +44 (0) 115 8466946