Available student project - Do plants fight back? Understanding the mechanical responses of plant cells

Research fields

  • Biophysics
  • Materials Science and Engineering
Schematic of a plant cell under attack by a pathogen

Project details

Plants become infected with disease when a pathogen tunnels through a cell wall and enters a plant cell. Plants can detect the applied pressure of an invading pathogen and have several responses in order to defend themselves. One self-defence response is a stiffening of the region below the cell wall at the site of attack. This project involves performing nano-scale mechanical measurements of a cell wall under pressure to detect self-defense responses triggered in the plant. This includes measuring the stiffness of the cell wall in normal and mutant type plants. This project offers skills in measuring material properties as well as biological sample preparation.

Required background

Materials science and plant biology would be ideal but not essential.

Project suitability

This research project can be tailored to suit students of the following type(s)
  • Honours project
  • Phd or Masters

Contact supervisor

Bradby, Jodie profile

Updated:  4 September 2019/ Responsible Officer:  Director, RSPhys/ Page Contact:  Physics Webmaster