PhD Position : Are phytohormones key regulators of root microbiome of poplar trees ?”

The successful applicant will work within the frame of a joint project Plant-Microbe Interface ( between INRA-Nancy-Lorraine and US-DOE-Oak-Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). The PMI project is directed towards understandingthe dynamic interface that exists between plants, microbes and their environment, using Populus as a model tree and its microbial consortia. The main goals of this joint project are: 1) to define the progression of molecular events that leads to selective, mutualistic plant-microbe partnerships and determine the general applicability of these mechanisms across the spectrum of potential microbiome members;  2) to identify and evaluate the components of the chemical environment that structure the community and 3) to understand the response of the community to biotic and abiotic stresses.

The specific objectives of the thesis are (i) to analyze the respective role of the signaling pathways of major phytohormones (SA, JA, GA, ethylene) in the regulation of root microbiome using poplar as a model system, (ii) to measure the functional consequences of microbiome alteration by these hormonal signaling pathways in terms of nutrition and stress response of poplar. Poplar is an interesting model for several reasons: first, it has an important place in the French forest economy and secondly, its roots are colonized by fungi with distinct functional capacities: (mycorrhizas and endophytes) Finally, it is the only temperate tree that can be genetically manipulated to test hypotheses. In this case, we will investigate whether poplar phytohormones have a structuring role in the composition of root microbial communities.

The main questions that the PhD Student will address are: Which roles do phytohormones play in the structuring of fungal and bacterial communities of poplar roots ? What are the functional consequences of root microbiome alterations? The following two hypotheses will be tested: (i) poplar phytohormones regulate the colonization of the root system by its microbiome; (ii) the modulation of the root microbiome and in particular the endophyte/mycorrhizal balance by phytohormones affects the poplar’s nutrition and resistance to stress.

more information : here


 Claire Veneault-Fourrey / Aurélie Deveau
 INRA Nancy / University of Lorraine
 /

Send Application before 2019 March 15th
If selected, date for interview: 2019 March 26th
If successful, starting date of PhD: 2019 May 1st