Summer Studentship | Novel Plant-Pathogen DNA-based Detection Systems | PFR

Website Plant & Food Research (PFR)

Summer Studentship | Novel Plant-Pathogen DNA-based Detection Systems | PFR


Plant & Food Research (PFR) is a New Zealand science company delivering research and development designed to grow competitive advantage for clients in the horticulture, wine, cropping, seafood and associated high-value food sectors worldwide.

Our summer studentship programme creates a special “career experience” for high calibre candidates. Our unique programme includes a full induction training day, a career planning session identifying potential pathways, a specific project – designed for you, as well as a final farewell and awards function.

Our sensor work is designed to identify plant pathogens in a rapid and sensitive manner. We have already designed a robust electrochemical-based sensor platform. The sensitivity of the system can be improved with the introduction of a target amplification step using cutting-edge technology such as recombinase polymerase amplification. This studentship will involve evaluating this amplification step, determining the optimal working conditions allowing the user to identify multiple plant pathogens from a single biological sample. The ultimate outcome of this project is to design a hand-held biosensor that can be utilized to ensure NZ biosecurity has state-of-the-art technology to protect our unique biological heritage.


The student will be expected to carry out standard molecular biology techniques, with this project allowing the successful candidate to gain experience in several technologies including plant DNA extraction, ssDNA oligo design, ssDNA hybridisation, PCR-based amplification, RPA-based amplification and plant pathogen DNA isolation. In addition to this, the student will gain an understanding of the electrochemistry technology underpinning our sensor platform.

Criteria for the Position

This position will suit a science undergraduate candidate with an interest in the interface between the science disciplines of biology and chemistry, with an applied focus. A willingness to learn basic molecular biology laboratory skills, whilst having an appreciation for the chemistry underpinning the sensor is a necessity.

Summer Studentship | Novel Plant-Pathogen DNA-based Detection Systems | PFR

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