3-YEAR PhD Studentship: Molecular mechanisms in brain development
Background. ’Cell guidance receptors’ are specialised proteins that are found at the surfaces of cells. They direct the formation of complex tissues such as the neural and vascular networks. Understanding how these tissues form is important, because failure leads to developmental diseases and cancers. The lab uses a range of cutting-edge techniques, especially X-ray crystallography, electron microscopy, cell biology assays, confocal and super-resolution microscopy. Combining these techniques allows us to understand how cell guidance receptors function on the molecular, cellular and tissue levels. This DPhil project focuses on the distinct and emerging class of adhesion G-protein-coupled receptors (adhesion GPCRs). These contain large extracellular domains that mediate cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions. How these receptors are implicated in human diseases is not well understood, hampering progress in treating the associated diseases.
Your research will aim to discover how adhesion GPCRs function in brain development. The project involves X-ray crystallography and cryo-electron microscopy to determine the structures of adhesion GPCRs and their binding partners, and/or cell biology combined with advanced fluorescence microscopy to investigate how they direct cells. The results will underpin the development of new drugs and treatments for neurodevelopmental disorders and cancers. We will provide training in the required areas, such as protein expression and purification from large-scale mammalian expression systems, biophysical analysis, mammalian cell culture, and use of the microscopy and biophysical facilities at Oxford and Harwell. There will also be opportunities for collaboration involving molecular modelling, mass spectrometry and specialised experiments to study protein function in situ.
Further information and background reading: http://seiradake.web.ox.ac.uk
Eligibility: we welcome applications from UK and EU applicants.
Students with a molecular biology, cell biology or biochemistry background, ideally with some relevant practical undergraduate experience, would be preferred.
The project is supported by a 3-year PhD studentship covering fees (at the Home/EU rate) plus a living cost allowance of not less than £14,777 per annum. The successful applicant will become a member of Somerville College.
To apply for this funded studentship, please submit an online application to the University of Oxford for admission to the D.Phil. in Biochemistry by the deadline 12.00 noon (UK time) 15th February 2019. It is very important that you quote Studentship Source Code ELA1. No research proposal is required as part of the application. Instead you are required to upload a personal statement of no more than 1000 words, describing your motivation and aptitude for this position, and your CV, plus official transcripts of your undergraduate marks and degrees. Please arrange that three referees directly submit references for you.
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