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If you're interested in joining the Virology and Molecular Plant Pathology Group please contact Professor John Carr directly at
The group investigates plant defence against pathogens, in particular against viruses and collaborates closely with partners in sub- Saharan Africa and Korea. Thr group is interested in several areas that have fundamental importance in understanding plant and viral biology, and importance in the development of improved plant protection technologies. Contact Professor Carr if you're interested in investigating any of the following PhD topics:
  • Investigations of defensive signalling mediated by salicylic acid, jasmonic acid and other signals and the role of of RNA silencing on antiviral defence and plant defensive signal transduction.

  • Investigating how viruses evade, exploit and manipulate the host plant’s defensive systems (Groen et al 2017).

  • Understand how interactions between viral proteins with host factors and other viral proteins generate changes in developmental and biochemical phenotypes (symptoms) of the host and aid the virus to exploit its host.

  • How virus-induced changes in host developmental and biochemical phenotype (Lee et al 2016) affect the interactions of the host plant with other organisms such as the insects that transmit viruses (vectors) and beneficial insects (eg. pollinators).

  • Investigate how basic research on virus-plant-insect interactions (Wamonje et al 2017) can be translated into methods to increase crop yield and decrease losses to disease (collaborations with African partners).

  • Investigate how virus-induced changes in host developmental and biochemical phenotype might aid the ability of host plants to withstand abiotic stresses.

  • Investigate how insect-pathogenic viruses (eg. dicistroviruses) can exploit plants as ‘vectors’ to infect plants and how this information might be translated to develop new biological control methods to control aphid vectors of plant viruses.


Prospective postgraduate students are required to apply through the University's Applicant Portal. For information on how to apply, including course entry requirements, deadlines and application fees, visit the Postgraduate Admissions website. Any available PhD projects are listed below: