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Vacancies: 2 PhD Studentships at the University of Southampton

 

PHD Position number 1

Dept / School / Faculty: Engineering & The Environment | University of Southampton

Project Title: EngSci-BIO-132: Comparative chemical mapping of plant-soil interaction

Project Supervisor(s):  Dr T. Roose , Dr S Keyes

Research Group: Geomechanics and Environmental Geotechnics

Funding Availability: Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Application Deadline: Applications accepted all year round

Click here for details on how to apply
<http://www.findaphd.com/common/clickCount.aspx?type=35&theid=55891&url=http%3a%2f%2fwww.southampton.ac.uk%2fengineering%2fpostgraduate%2fresearch_degrees%2fapply.page%3f>
 

All the food humans eat comes directly or indirectly from plants. It is thus of great importance to understand the fundamentals of how plants grow and interact with the environment. Human life and health hinge on the physical, chemical and biological processes taking place where plant roots make contact with soil. We are seeking a PhD student to investigate the dynamics of essential nutrient uptake by plants through the development and application of novel chemical sensing and mapping technologies. In particular, we are looking to compare in vivo and ex vivo plant/soil systems using X-ray fluorescence surface mapping (XRF), energy dispersive X-ray mapping (SEM-EDX), and soil solution analysis (using microdialysis probes and mass spectroscopy). The project will develop application of the technologies, calibrate the methods, and then integrate the resulting data into a mathematical modelling framework that will be developed alongside this work.

Southampton has world-class facilities for this work. At the National Oceanography Centre Southampton (NOCS) we have facilities for the bulk micro-beam and in situ measurement of elemental concentrations and isotopic (stable, metal, radiogenic) compositions of environment samples (including soils, rocks, fluids, gases, tissue, organic materials, and atmospheric particles). These analytical instruments are coupled with excellent sample preparation facilities. Scanning electron microscopes with energy dispersive and wavelength dispersive X-ray detection (e.g., Leo 1450VP SEM with PGT EDS detector) provide major and high concentration elemental mapping coupled with textural analysis. An EDAX Eagle III micro-X-ray fluorescence spectrometer provides high resolution (~40 μm and below) mapping of major and trace element concentrations for samples up to 15 cm across. Soil solution chemical analysis facilities include ThemoFisher Xseries2 Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometers (ICP-MS) and ThermoFisher Element II ICP-MS for higher sensitivity analysis, and ThermoElemental XSeriesAtomic Emission ICP.

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Tiina Roose of Bioengineering Sciences Research Group, Email: t.roose@soton.ac.uk or Sam Keyes, Email: S.D.Keyes@soton.ac.uk

Visit our Postgraduate Research Opportunities Afternoon to find out more about Postgraduate Research study within the Faculty of Engineering and the Environment: http://www.southampton.ac.uk/engineering/news/events/2016/02/03-discover-your-future.page

 

PhD Position 2

Dept / School / Faculty: Engineering & The Environment | University of Southampton

Project Title: EngSci-BIO-133: Application of advanced engineering imaging approaches to plant-soil interaction

Project Supervisor(s): Dr T. Roose , Prof I. Sinclair

Research Group: Structures and Solid Mechanics

Funding Availability: Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Click here for details on how to apply

<http://www.findaphd.com/common/clickCount.aspx?type=35&theid=62058&url=http%3a%2f%2fwww.southampton.ac.uk%2fengineering%2fpostgraduate%2fresearch_degrees%2fapply.page%3f>

Application Deadline: Applications accepted all year round

All the food humans eat comes directly or indirectly from plants. It is a great cross-disciplinary challenge to understand the fundamentals of how plants grow and interact with the environment. It does not overstate the case to say that human life and health hinge on the many processes taking place where plant roots make contact with soil. We are seeking a PhD student to apply cutting-edge engineering imaging technologies in order to reveal the interactions of plant root systems and their growth environments, from the soil-pore scale to the scale of the entire plant. This will be achieved by applying four-dimensional (3D space + time), multi-scale X-ray Computed Tomography to non-destructively visualise root development, along with the corresponding physical soil and water dynamics. The application of medical contrast agents to imaging of plant/soil interactions will be explored, particularly for the imaging of very large samples (~30cm diameter). As part of an integrated engineering sciences team, our aim is to develop a fully-optimised workflow for 4D plant imaging, integrated into corresponding chemical analysis and computational simulation development.

Southampton has world-class facilities for this work. The μVIS Centre for Computed Tomography hosts a suite of state-of-the-art X-ray CT scanners, including a custom 250kV/450kV hutch for large sample scanning (up to 1m diameter and 100kg), a 225kV Nikon HMX-ST for medium size samples (1-10 cm), a ZEISS Xradia 510 Versa X-ray Microscope for <1 μm imaging, as well as access to synchrotron beam-time at international facilities. The School of Electronics and Computer Science provides access to a world-leading digital image processing methodologies. Access to the UK University Sector’s most powerful supercomputer (Irisdis4) is available for particularly demanding computational applications.

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Tiina Roose of Bioengineering Sciences Research Group, Email: t.roose@soton.ac.uk or Sam Keyes, Email: S.D.Keyes@soton.ac.uk

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