Funded PhD position in the Applied Optics Group

We are excited to offer a PhD project opportunity within the Applied Optics Group as part of the South Coast Biology Doctoral Training Partnership (SoCoBio DTP).

Optical Coherence Tomography – Developing Tools to interrogate the skin of fruits for understanding disease susceptibility

Primary Supervisor: Professor Adrian Podoleanu

Project Summary

Plant cuticle and underlying epidermis forms the outermost layer protecting plants from desiccation and from abiotic and biotic stresses. The cuticle comprises mainly of polyester cutin and epicuticular waxes that help to prevent moisture loss and maintenance of cell turgor. In fruits changes in surface properties play an important role in increasing consumer appeal during maturation through development of ‘blooms’ and colour changes. Importantly, the cuticle and epidermis form a mechanical barrier acting as the first-line in defence against the ingress from plant pathogens.

The PhD Studentship will aim to develop optical coherence tomography (a non-invasive high-resolution microscopy technology based on interference) to underpin our understanding of changes in fruit surfaces properties that may affect susceptibility to pathogen attack during development and ripening. This exciting studentship will provide a significant contribution to our understanding how to develop sustainable strategies to reduce food loss and wastage.

To apply please follow the guidance at and complete  the SoCoBio application form by Midnight on Monday 4th January 2021.  This PhD Studentship is due to start in October 2021. Within the SoCoBio Application Questionnaire, one of the supporting documents to be included with your application, for Question 1, enter the theme for this project – Bioscience for sustainable agriculture and food.

The applicant must have a good background in either Bioscience with keen interests in Physics or Electronics engineering, or Physics (Optics)/Electronic Engineering but interested in their applications to plant science. We are looking for highly imaginative and self-motivated individual, prepared to develop interdisciplinary research.

Visit the websites for more information on the EMR Department of Pest & Pathogen Ecology and Kent’s Applied Optics Group or email Prof. Xiangming Xu at the Department of Pest & Pathogen Ecology, NIAB EMR or Prof A. Podoleanu form the School of Physical Sciences, University of Kent.



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