About the Project
The aim of this DTP is to produce highly motivated and excellently trained postgraduates in the BBSRC priority areas of Agriculture & Food Security (AFS) and World-Class Underpinning Bioscience (WCUB). These are growth areas of the biosciences and for which there will be considerable future demand.
This project is one of a number that are in competition for funding from the South West Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (SWBio DTP).
This project will offer an exciting opportunity to learn upcoming structural biology methods, and to apply these to a vaccinology project. The key methodological focus of the project will be micro electron diffraction (micro-ED), a method of determining protein structures that will become a mainstream method over the next five years. The training from this PhD will make the student very competitive for industry and academic positions at the end of the project. The project will allow the student to learn methods for preparing samples, collecting data, and using this data to determine protein structures, as well as complementary experimental and computational methods for understanding the experimental data.
The project will determine the structure of proteins from Coxiella burnetii, a human pathogen that also causes economic losses in cattle worldwide. The Harmer group are part of a consortium aiming to develop a polysaccharide based vaccine against C. burnetii. We are determining the structures of important polysaccharide biosynthesis proteins to aid the production of a recombinant vaccine. This project will contribute to this programme and offer opportunities to work with others in the consortium. Structures will also be interrogated using modelling techniques to determine whether any proteins might act as drug targets.
This project will be based in the recently established Living Systems Institute in Exeter, which houses a diverse group of leading interdisciplinary researchers. You will join a vibrant group of young researchers with interests across a range of diseases.
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