EpiTRAITS seeks to train PhDs and PostDocs with its Interdisciplinary Epigenetics Program

There’s more to crops than simply what’s in their genome.

At a time when gen­ome sequen­cing is the big thing, it might seem that genet­ics is the place to be. However a new fron­tier is open­ing in plant sci­ences with the study of epi­gen­et­ics. Epigenetics offers insights into how organ­isms develop bey­ond the effects of their DNA. This is a par­tic­u­lar con­cern for plant sci­ent­ists. Changes in epi­gen­etic gene reg­u­la­tion are a major cause for trait vari­ation, but so far no one has found a way to use this for crop breeding.

The chal­lenge is being met by the Marie Curie International Training Network, headquartered at the University of Amsterdam, which has set up the EpiTRAITS Training pro­gram. EpiTRAITS will train research­ers in epi­gen­etic gene reg­u­la­tion and flower­ing in the model plant Arabidopsis thali­ana and the crop plants maize (Zea mays) and bar­ley (Hordeum vul­gare). The inter­dis­cip­lin­ary pro­gramme will help them to become both lead­ers in epi­gen­et­ics and be famil­iar enough with tech­no­lo­gies in other dis­cip­lines to apply their expert­ise else­where. Not only will the train­ees become sci­entific pion­eers, they’ll also become entre­pren­eurs in the field. They’ll have the skills to present their work and high­light the com­mer­cial applic­a­tions of their research.

This obvi­ously requires quite a net­work for train­ing and EpiTRAITS is in the happy pos­i­tion of being able to com­bine pos­i­tions at lead­ing home labs with pub­lic and private sec­tor intern­ships around Europe. There are 11 PhD and 3 Postdoc pos­i­tions avail­able. You can down­load a word doc­u­ment with details about the vari­ous positions.

If you’re inter­ested you should visit www​.epi​traits​.eu to register your applic­a­tion. The dead­line is October 8.

Photo by Nezih Durmazlar. Licensed under a Creative Commons BY licence.

Alun Salt. ORCID 0000-0002-1261-4283

When he's not the web developer for AoB Blog, Alun Salt researches something that could be mistaken for the archaeology of science. His current research is about whether there's such a thing as scientific heritage and if there is how would you recognise it?