The crowded environment of a cell cytoplasm reveals that proteins and other biological molecules co-exist at high macromolecular concentrations. Many proteins, though, are difficult to express, purify, and/or store at the high individual component concentrations required for biotechnological applications. Several methodologies are used to counter this problem, including the use of solubility tag fusions, expression systems modified to aid protein folding, protein engineering, and the inclusion of additives for storage. Some of these methods make use of our current knowledge of relevant factors, such as facilitating native disulphide bond formation. However, this knowledge is limited. For example, fusion tags to enhance solubility can have quite different effects, depending on the protein of interest, in turn limiting the scope for accurate prediction of expression efficiency. This project seeks to improve our understanding of the role played by protein fusion solubility tags in expression. Importantly, some of the computational groundwork is in place, with a physico-chemical model for protein solubility being developed. Additionally, there exists a wealth of expression data in the literature. Since the effects of fusion tags are protein-dependent, it is anticipated that interactions between fusion tag and protein of interest could be critical to an improved understanding. These interactions will be the focus for developing the model for protein solubility. Both protein targets and solubility tags can be modelled, based on structure, and this information used to provide a predictive scheme for the differential effects of solubility tags.
Candidates are expected to hold (or be about to obtain) a minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent) in a biological, chemical, or physical sciences area. Candidates with experience or interest in the application of computational methods to biotechnology are encouraged to apply.
How To Apply
For information on how to apply for this project, please visit the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health Doctoral Academy website (https://www.bmh.manchester.ac.uk/study/research/apply/). Informal enquiries may be made directly to the primary supervisor. On the online application form select the appropriate subject title.
For international students, we also offer a unique 4 year PhD programme that gives you the opportunity to undertake an accredited Teaching Certificate whilst carrying out an independent research project across a range of biological, medical and health sciences.
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
Equality, diversity and inclusion is fundamental to the success of The University of Manchester, and is at the heart of all of our activities. The full Equality, diversity and inclusion statement can be found on the website https://www.bmh.manchester.ac.uk/study/research/apply/equality-diversity-inclusion/”