Exam Projects

Forest and bionergy: A genetic approach - Rosario Garcia Gil

    Supervisor: Rosario Garcia-Gil, Dept of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology, SLU.
    Tel. 786 84 13. E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Genetics at the forest tree line - Rosario Garcia Gil

      Supervisor: Rosario Garcia-Gil, Dept of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology, SLU.
      Tel. 786 84 13. E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

      Characterization of FTSHi proteases of chloroplast in Arabidopsis thaliana - Christiane funk

        Proteases are highly important for cell survival. Among the large list of proteases present in plants, we are interested in the family of Filamentation temperature sensitive protein H (FtsH) enzymes, which are found in bacteria, animals and plants. Besides 12 genes encoding proteolytic active members of FtsH proteases in A. thaliana, there are 5 genes encoding for presumably proteolytically inactive proteases due to mutations in their active site; they are termed FtsHi. Despite their lack of proteolytic activity these FtsHi’s seem to be important for chloroplast and plant development, homozygous mutants of FtsHi are often embryo lethal. All five FtsHi´s are located in the chloroplast, most likely in its envelope membrane. We are elucidating the function of these presumably inactive FtsH variants. Our most recent results have been published in J. Exp. Bot. (Mishra et al., 2019).

        Supervisor: Christiane Funk, Dept of Chemistry, UMU.
        Tel. 786 76 33. E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

        Identification of novel molecular players involved in plant photoprotection - Alizée Malnoë

          Identification of novel molecular players involved in plant photoprotection

          A Master thesis opportunity is available in the group of Alizée Malnoë (https://www.umu.se/en/staff/alizee-malnoe) in the Department of Plant Physiology at Umeå Plant Science Centre, Sweden.

          The Master student will identify molecular players required for sustained energy dissipation in plants using the model organism Arabidopsis thaliana. I have isolated mutants affected in photoprotection through a suppressor screen described in [1]. Using a mapping-by-sequencing strategy, the student will identify the genes mutated in mutants of interest. Whole genome sequencing will be performed at SciLife Laboratory and training for data analysis will be provided by the UPSC Bioinformatics facility. In addition, the student will contribute to the characterization of these mutants combining genetics, biochemistry, biophysics and physiology approaches.

          Please submit your letter of interest, your CV, a transcript of records of Bachelor of Science studies (if available also of the Master of Science studies carried out so far) and 1 or 2 contacts for reference to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

          [1] Malnoë, A., Schultink, A., Shahrasbi, S., Rumeau, D., Havaux, M., and Niyogi, K.K. (2017) The Plastid Lipocalin LCNP is Required for Sustained Photoprotective Energy Dissipation in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell 30: 196-208.

          Molecular Regulation of Flowering, Bud Set and and Bud Break in Trees - Ove Nilsson

            Supervisor: Ove Nilsson, Dept of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology, SLU.
            Tel. 786 84 87. E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

            Field trials of transgenic aspen – Ewa Mellerowicz

              Supervisors: Marta Derba-Maceluch and Ewa Mellerowicz, Dept of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology, SLU.
              Tel. 786 86 51. E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.;

              Field trials constitute the indispensable test for genetically improved trees. Transgenic aspen lines were obtained having improved growth, or wood density or with altered wood chemical traits, as determined in previous greenhouse experiments. The selected lines were planted in field trials along with wildtype plants and tested for 5-years for growth and various biotic and abiotic damages.  The trial was harvested, and the wood from this trial is being characterized. MSc project on this material is available.  The work may include various types of cell wall analyses, TGA analysis, univariate and multivariate statistical analyses, gene expression analyses.

              Characterisation of microalgae for waste water reclamation - Christiane Funk

                For converting a society dependent on fossil fuels and nuclear energy into a sustainable, bio-based society all production processes and products must be optimized for low material and energy use. Microalgae have been shown to be a highly suitable feedstock to produce biofuels, biofertilizers or even bioplastic. In our consortium MicroBioRefine we have collected and characterized Swedish photosynthetic microorganisms such as algae and cyanobacteria for their capacity to clean waste water in our cold Nordic climate. In this project you will use biochemical and molecular biological methods to answer the following questions:
                How can we improve the algal biomass (e.g. the lipid production)? How efficient are our Nordic microalgal strains in uptake of pharmaceuticals and other toxins? Can we improve harvesting and cell breakage by knowing more about the algal cell wall?

                Supervisor: Christiane Funk, Dept of Chemistry, UMU.
                Tel. 786 76 33. E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

                Hemicelluloses – key determinants of wood properties - Ewa Mellerowicz

                  Supervisors: Marta Derba-Maceluch and Ewa Mellerowicz, Dept of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology, SLU.
                  Tel. 786 86 51. E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

                  Hemicelluloses mediate interactions between lignin and cellulose in cell walls and thus play a key role in determining final properties of wood. We are deciphering these interactions by modifying hemicellulose structures in transgenic trees. In the project you will study effects of particular xylan modifications on tree growth and development, and on wood properties.

                  Transgenic plants will be provided. Transgene expression will be analyzed by DNA/RNA/protein activity and plants will be phenotyped by microscopy, growth analysis and various types of cell wall analyses. Possibility of field work.

                  References:

                  Pawar P M-A, Derba-Maceluch M, Chong SL, Gandla ML, Bashar SS, Sparrman T, Ahvenainen P, Hedenström M, Özparpucu M, Rüggeberge M, Serimaa R, Lawoko M, Tenkanen M, Jönsson LJ, Mellerowicz EJ*. 2017. In muro deacetylation of xylan increases lignin extractability and improves saccharification of aspen wood. Biotechnology for Biofuels, 10:98

                  Derba-Maceluch M, Awano T, Takahashi J, Lucenius J, Ratke C, Kontro I, Busse-Wicher M, Kosik O, Tanaka R, Winzéll A, Kallas Å, Lesniewska J, Berthold F, Immerzeel P, Teeri TT, Ezcurra I, Dupree P, Serimaa R, and Mellerowicz EJ*. 2015. Suppression of xylan transglycosylase PtxtXyn10A affects cellulose microfibril angle in secondary wall in aspen wood. New Phytologist 205: 666–681.

                  From Sugar to Wood - Totte Niittylä

                    Supervisor: Totte Niittylä, Dept of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology, SLU.
                    Tel. 786 84 34. E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

                    A one year or 6 months Master¹s research project position in plant cell
                    wall biosynthesis.
                    The research project is part of an effort to understand mechanisms of
                    carbon incorporation to wood cell walls with the applied goal of
                    increasing the biomass of future biorefinery feedstocks. The work is
                    carried out with Arabidopsis and hybrid aspen as model systems.
                    You need to be enrolled in a Masters degree in plant
                    biology, molecular biology, biochemistry or equivalent in a European
                    university. Knowledge in molecular biology techniques is a merit and
                    good English is a requirement. The project can be part of the UPSC
                    Masters in plant biotechnology program or be tailored to the needs of an
                    external Masters degree. For more information and to apply please send a
                    cover letter and a short CV to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

                    The mediator complex organization in Poplar - a proteomic approach- Gunnar Wingsle

                      Supervisor: Gunnar Wingsle, Department of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology, SLU
                      Tel. 786 60 61. E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

                      The Mediator complex is a part of the general transcription machinery  that’s also includes  polymerase  II in eukaryotes . It composes of  three main modules, the tail, middle and head and consists of approximately of 30 proteins all together. This complex has so far only been studied in a few articles from the plant system and this study aims to get basic information of the complex from the xylem tissue from Poplar.  The main tool will be to use masspectrometry  techniques to identify the specific components in the complex. One aim in the project will also to identify phosphorylation sites in some of the Mediator proteins.