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ePortfolio of Beth Richmond

My PhD Project

My PhD project is comparing the role of a key nodulation gene in Medicago truncatula, NODULATION SIGNALLING PATHWAY 2 (NSP2), to its Arabidopsis thaliana ortholog, SCARECROW-LIKE PROTEIN 26 (SCL26). Nodulation confers a great advantage to able plants; symbiotic rhizobia in the nodules fix atmospheric nitrogen for the plant, in return for plant-derived photosynthates. Unfortunately, the majority of crop species are able to form this specific type of symbiosis, hence why the use of nitrogenous fertilisers is so heavily relied upon. In order to avoid the economically- and environmentally-costly effects of fertiliser use, whilst still trying to maintain global food security, there is a lot of interest into the transferral of nodulation ability to otherwise non-nodulating crops.


I graduated from the University of Warwick in 2018 with 1st class degree in BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences. During the summer of my second year, I undertook a summer research project (Undergraduate Research Support Scheme) in the lab of Dr. Miriam Gifford, under the supervision of her post-doc Dr. Beatriz Lagunas. I also presented my research from this project at the International Conference of Undergraduate Research 2017, which was hosted by the University of Warwick.

During my time in the Gifford Lab, I developed a keen interest in their work on plant cell plasticity, and chose to undertake my 3rd year research project in their lab. Then, prior to my graduation in 2018, I successfully applied for a MIBTP-funded PhD studentship, with Dr. Miriam Gifford as my lead supervisor.

The MIBTP DTP studentship involves a training year. This includes 3 months of courses, such as in RNA sequencing analysis and R coding, two 3-month rotations within two different labs across any of the MIBTP-associated universities, and then a 3-month internship at a profession of your choosing. For more information on what I did during my training year, take a look at my Professional Development page above!


Photo by Henri Calderon
Beth Richmond