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PhD Modelling of cellular patterning in plant growth

PhD Modelling of cellular patterning in plant growth

Wageningen University, Netherlands



We are looking for a PhD candidate with a strong interest in Systems Biology, the discipline in which biological systems are described with the help of mathematical models.
This PhD position focuses on modelling of cellular patterning in plant growth.
Plant cells receive their solidity from the fact that they are surrounded by highly anisotropic cell walls. These walls serve diverse functions. E.g., they may also force the cells into complex shapes and allow for anisotropic cell expansion. In this project we want to model how the structuring of the cell walls is regulated during cell grow and how this structure on its turn governs cell shape and functioning. For this project we need a candidate who combines a strong background in mathematical modelling with a background or strong interest in biological processes, and in addition likes numerical simulations. 
The required wall anisotropies are largely derived from the coordinated deposition of wall material such as cellulose microfibrils. This process, in turn, is guided by cortical microtubules, highly dynamic protein structures that can self organize into a range of patterns.
Previous theoretical and simulation studies have shown that the basic interactions among these microtubules are sufficient to obtain alignment of the so called cortical microtubule array. For complex cell shapes or specialized functions, however, intracellular patterning of the array is necessary.
You will combine state of the art computer simulations of the microtubule array and PDE models of intracellular pattern formation to understand the core subprocesses, and ultimately integrate both. Throughout, you will interact with experimentalists who are able to measure the relevant dynamic parameters.
Function Requirements
The ideal candidate:
  • has an MSc in mathematics/ physics/(theoretical) biology/computer science or a related discipline
  • has strong mathematical skills in fields like dynamical systems, bifurcation analysis, partial differential equations, and/or stochastic computer simulations
  • has extensive programming experience, preferably in C++ or similar language
  • is able to think in terms of algorithms
  • is eager to work on biological systems
  • enjoys communicating with experimentalists


More information to be found here


Wageningen University, NL

Printed from on 19/02/17 02:30:44 PM

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