The Plant Functional Biology and Climate Change Cluster (C3) Aquatic Processes Group has an exciting opportunity for a keen motivated young scientist interested in a PhD project to develop a photosynthetic screen for candidate strains of marine microalgae for the UTS Biofuels Program. The successful PhD candidate will work in a dynamic, successful and supportive environment and be mentored within the new UTS Higher Degree Research Student scheme.
Biofuels have long been seen as a potential replacement for oil; C3 biologists and physicists are combining their expertise to facilitate the development of algal photobioreactors that produce optimum conditions for algal growth.
PhD Project: Limiting photosynthetic inefficiencies to achieve enhanced biofuel production
Background: Algae possess a range of processes that dissipate excess energy (such as non-photochemical quenching, including xanthophyll cycles, and photorespiration) and therefore limit damage from photoinhibition; however these processes also reduce the cells’ photosynthetic capacity. The ideal algal strain would have low energy dissipation where a higher proportion of the incident light energy was being used to support carbon fixation. In this project, we will develop a screen for high lipid-yielding microalgal strains that also have a low capacity for photoprotection under sub-saturating irradiance.
1) Screen for strains that have elevated efficiency at sub-saturating irradiance.
2) Characterise the selected strains
3) Characterise the ideal environmental conditions for maximum production
4) Bio-prospect potential strains
Ideal PhD candidate would possess some of these skills:
•Molecular techniques, such as qRT-PCR
•Advance photokinetics skills (such as chl a fluorometry, gas exchange measurements, knowledge of photosynthetic inhibitors)
•Cell culture expertise is essential
•Operation of HPLC
•Operation of a flow cytometer
How to apply:
Email applications and enquiries to Professor Peter Ralph (firstname.lastname@example.org) by June 15th 2012.
Applications must include
- full CV,
- statement of research intent for undertaking this particular PhD project,
- three referees and
- a one page research proposal aligned with the project described above.
Biofuels PhD Flyer (PDF, 331KB)