Plant growth is a fundamental biological process that impacts food production and landscape structuring, and is highly relevant for the goal of an integrated and sustainable agriculture in the EU. Growth is a highly co-ordinated process involving multiple scales, ranging from molecular entities through cellular structures to the whole-tissue and organ level. Environmental cues also strongly affect growth of higher plants.
The plant vacuole can be considered as a central cellular integrator of growth signals. It links growth to the maintenance of the plant's structure (turgor control) and has a pivotal role in cellular detoxification and as a storage organelle. The linkage of vacuolar transport activities to plant growth processes is poorly understood. The VaT EP research training network specifically targets transport proteins located in the vacuolar membrane (i.e. tonoplast) to unravel their specific functions with respect to plant growth processes in the following main objectives:(1) identification of new ton oplast proteins in different species and extensive molecular and biochemical characterisation;(2) investigation of the dynamics of tonoplast transport equipment in response to growth stimuli;(3) analysis and modelling of the dynamics of leaf and root growt h controlled by tonoplast proteins.
The VaTEP RTN offers a structured 3- year training for European PhD students. PhD students will be trained in a biological discipline that covers multiple levels and links molecular events to whole-tissue growth in plants. It offers measures to develop skills and competencies in various technological and innovative aspects. Young researchers will additionally be trained in a number of complementary skills, including project management and financing, IP rights, ethical issue s, communication, and entrepreneurship. Training within the VaTEP RTN will qualify young researchers to perform R&D projects both in the public and private sector and to achieve leading positions.
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