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3 year funded PhD position: Membrane remodelling machines in humans and bacteria

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Monday, December 16, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Dynamin family members (DFMs) form a superfamily of proteins that mediate membrane fission, fusion and remodelling events in key cellular processes such as endocytosis, mitochondrial maintenance and viral defence. Mutation in DFMs causes serious neurological disorders such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease or centronuclear myopathy. DFMs are also emerging as novel and exciting cancer targets due to their involvement in cytokinesis, cell motility and mitochondrial dynamics.

This PhD project aims to understand the molecular mechanism underlying dynamin-mediated membrane remodelling and its implication in human disease. Cryo-electron microscopy will be used as a core technique to obtain near atomic resolution reconstructions that reveal the large-scale conformational changes DFMs undergo when inducing membrane fission and fusion. DFMs in complex with binding partners will also be characterised focussing on both cancer targets and proteins involved in synaptic plasticity, memory and learning.

This is an exciting interdisciplinary project with structural biology methods combined with biochemistry and cell biology.

The project will start October 2020 although can be started at any time before depending on candidate suitability.

How to apply: Please send your CV and a cover letter describing why you are suitable for the studentship and interested in the project, along with the details of two referees to Dr Harry Low by 16th December 2019. Feel free to email with informal questions or see the lab website

Funding Notes

The studentship is funded by the Department of Infectious Diseases, Faculty of Medicine for 3 years and covers home/EU tuition fees and a stipend of £18,000 per annum. Writing up fees of £200 for the final/fourth year are also provided.

Applicants must have or expect to gain a First or Upper Second class undergraduate degree in Chemistry, Biochemistry or similar. A Masters Degree is desirable but not essential. Applicants are also required to meet Imperial College’s English language requirements. Please see the following link: View Website


1. Liu, J., Noel, J. K. & Low, H. H. Structural basis for membrane tethering by a bacterial dynamin-like pair. Nat Commun 9, 3345 (2018).
2. Bohuszewicz, O. & Low, H. H. Structure of a mitochondrial fission dynamin in the closed conformation. Nat Struct Mol Biol 25, 722–731 (2018).
3. Low, H. H., Sachse, C., Amos, L. A. & Löwe, J. Structure of a Bacterial Dynamin-like Protein Lipid Tube Provides a Mechanism For Assembly and Membrane Curving. 139, 1342–1352 (2009).
4. Ford, M. G. J. & Chappie, J. S. The structural biology of the dynamin‐related proteins: New insights into a diverse, multitalented family. Traffic 20, 717–740 (2019).

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