Thursday, July 08, 2010

Dioscoro L. Umali Award in Agricultural Development

The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research Agriculture (SEARCA), the National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines (NAST), and the Dioscoro L. Umali Foundation (DLUF) is now inviting for nominations for The Dioscoro L. Umali Achievement Award in Agricultural Development. This award honors exemplary Southeast Asia (SEA) nationals whose work has provided significant positive impact on the development of agriculture and the improvement of the quality of life in rural communities in the region.

Please follow the link below for the award details.


PhD Position in Systems Biology at University of Montpellier

PhD position in Systems Biology, Montpellier

We are looking for a candidate motivated by systems biology and with strong background in mathematical modelling and computer science. Previous training in biology is an advantage.

To apply, please send an e-mail to with a CV and the names of 3 referees before June 30.

Studying lipid metabolism of Plasmodium is of great interest as its normal functioning is essential for the survival of the parasite. Targeting this metabolism with drugs represents a new pharmaceutical approach against malaria. Plasmodium is well suited for systems biology studies because during its life cycle this parasite activates a rare diversity of metabolic pathways. Reconstructing synthesis pathways of lipid metabolism in Plasmodium is crucial for understanding the biology of this agent of disease. The objective of this thesis is to develop a methodology for constructing dynamic mixed metabolic and genetic networks by using heterogeneous data. This methodology will be applied to transcriptomic and metabolomic data in order to build a model for lipid metabolism in Plasmodium. This model will be used for /in silico/ studies of the life cycle and of the defences against perturbations of the parasite.

The phD Student will join the new team `Biological Physics and Systems Biology` in the lab DIMNP (UMR 5235) in Montpellier. Our team develops physical, mathematical and computer science approaches for the understanding of the functioning of biological systems. At the centre of our approaches is the multi-scale modelling of the biological processes by using statistical physics, dynamical systems and stochastic processes techniques.

Website link:

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2 PhD Fellowships in Agrobiosciences at Scuola Sant`Anna

2 PhD Fellowships in Agrobiosciences, Scuola Sant`Anna

Scuola Superiore Sant`Anna, Italy
Call for Applications 2010-2011 - NON EU citizens
Ph.D. Programme in "Agrobiosciences

Selection overview
The Ph.D. Programme in "Agrobiosciences" is a three-year program characterized by an interdisciplinary connotation and designed for highly qualified and motivated students who wish to acquire the research and analytical skills of the international scientific community and to acquire the skills of professional academic research to work in government agencies, financial institutions, international agencies, private companies in economics. The Ph.D. Programme in "Agrobiosciences" consists in the following curricula:

* Genomics and Crop Science (Plant Biotechnology; Plant Genetics; Plant Physiology; Plant Genomics; Crop Sciences; Advanced technologies in Horticulture; Crop production and quality).
* Agriculture, Environment and Landscape (agroecology, organic, integrated or low-input agriculture, functional biodiversity in agroecosystems, landscape agronomy, multicriteria analysis of food and non food cropping systems, agri-environmental analysis of agricultural systems, multifunctional agriculture, agriculture-territory-landscape interactions).

Admission Requirements
# possession of a Master of Science (MSc.) or Master of Arts (MA) Degree (or equivalent);
# to be under 35 years of age on October 29, 2010; older than 35 may, as an exception, be admitted by the Examination Committee;
# possession of a certificate specifying an intermediate level (or above) of English (as per art. 2 par. 3 of the Call)

Positions and grants
2 positions supported by a grant (amounting to € 14.500 per year + free meals at school`s canteen + Campus facilities);

* the School reserves the possibility of accepting a maximum 2 additional students without a grant or other forms of financial support.


* Candidates are requested to apply online at by October 29, 2010, 12.00 am GMT. In case of problems with the online application, please contact the PhD Administration Office (tel. +39.050 883.220/3836, e-mail:
* The hardcopy of the application (signed by the candidate), together with the enclosures requested, must reach (regardless the forwarding date) by November 10, 2010:

Scuola Superiore Sant`Anna
Divisione Formazione Universitaria e alla Ricerca
Piazza Martiri della Libertà 33
56127 PISA, Italy
Application PhD in Agrobiosciences must be written on the envelope.

Application and attachments

Candidates should attach to their applications:

* a copy of their passport;
* two copies of their Curriculum Vitae et Studiorum; Please, use the EU model;
* one photocopy of candidate`s university Master Degree or equivalent. University degree and study certificates must be translated into Italian (except those written in English, French, German, or Spanish)
* one copy their MSc thesis (or two copies of the abstract) and a copy of any other document or publication that they deem suitable;
* a detailed list of academic courses taken. This list should contain information regarding credits, units (or equivalent) received, the grades received for each class taken, and the date when the final (or semester) examination was taken;
* the certificates of knowledge of the English language (see Admission Requirements);
* two copies of a Research Project, of no more than 3,000 words, which will describe the research activities that applicants would like to perform during the PhD course. The Research Project will include:
* a title;
* the scientific premises and the relevant bibliography;
* the aim and expectations of the research;
* the experimental methods and data analysis methods which will be used, where required;
* at least two Reference Letters written by Faculty Members who have supervised the applicant`s work during his/her university studies;
* a numbered list of documents attached.

Selection of applicants
Assessment of the titles: the submitted documents and publications, including the CV, and the Research Project.
Beginning of the PhD Programme
The PhD Programme will start on January 20, 2011
Information: e-mail:
Website :

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Ambitious GM Rice Project Enters Next Phase

- Rhiannon Smith,, July 1, 2010

An international consortium aiming to re-engineer rice to increase yields by 50 per cent is about to move into the second phase of its decades-long project. The project aims to genetically modify rice to use a more efficient method of photosynthesis - the process by which plants convert carbon dioxide into carbohydrates needed for growth.

Rice has a type of photosynthesis called C3. But some plants, including maize and sorghum, have evolved to use a type called C4. The C4 crops are anatomically different from C3s and are better at concentrating carbon dioxide around a particular enzyme - RuBisCO - which is crucial in photosynthesis.

If the scientists are successful in creating rice that follows the C4 pathway the crop could produce 50 per cent more grain, and would require less water and fertiliser.

The C4 plants work best in hot climates, so could be important as global warming increases. "As temperatures rise, C4 plants will photosynthesise better than C3s," said Richard Leegood, a plant biologist from the UK-based University of Sheffield, which is leading an international team of researchers, coordinated by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines.

The project received US$11.1 million of funding over three years from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in October 2008. Most of this money has gone to IRRI, said Leegood, where researchers are doing the mammoth task of screening plants to try to identify the genes that control photosynthesis.

The project is a long-term venture - Leegood says that it will be at least 20 years before the modified rice is available. "Many genes need to be manipulated, then engineered traits need to be transferred into commercial varieties."

Since C3 photosynthesis evolved naturally into the C4 type in other plants more than 60 times through history, Leegood hopes that the public will accept this GM rice. "It is not an unnatural process; it's something that plants do ordinarily."

Lewis Ziska, a plant physiologist at the US Department of Agriculture said: "This kind of innovative work is crucial if we are going to meet the demands of an expanding population".. Although there are many other issues that cause food insecurity, Leegood said that this solution could tackle those limitations that are "inherent" in the production of such crops. The Sheffield work forms part of its Project Sunshine, a programme that investigates how the power of the sun can be harnessed to meet the world's increasing food and energy needs.


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