Applications will be reviewed until a suitable candidate is appointed.
Self-assembling biological machines designed in nature have captured the imagination of scientists and public alike for decades, given their remarkable biological significance in cells to sequester and enhance key metabolic reactions and clear potential to sustainably transform and enhance human life. Many bacteria have evolved highly powerful metabolic organelles, named bacterial microcompartments, which play critical roles in carbon fixation, pathogenesis and microbial ecology. The bacterial microcompartment comprises an icosahedral protein shell, resembling virus capsids, which encapsulating key catalytic enzymes and molecules.
By exploiting multidisciplinary approaches, this PhD project aims at exploring the molecular basis underlying the biosynthesis process of bacterial organelles and developing new synthetic biology tools and microscopic screening to engineer and reprogramme metabolic organelles for novel functions in diverse biotechnological applications, such as biocatalysis, energy production, improving agricultural yields, and molecule delivery in therapeutics. The long-term goal is to provide solutions for bioengineering and biotechnology, to meet the grand challenges in food and energy security and human health.
Highly motivated applicants holding a Masters’ degree or a BSc at first or high 2:1 class in biochemistry / microbiology / structural biology or equivalent are encouraged to contact Professor Liu ([Email Address Removed], www.luningliu.org) for details and apply for studentships. Experience of lab work in protein biochemistry, microscopy, and molecular biology would be an advantage but not a prerequisite.
This highly multidisciplinary project will combine molecular biology, biochemistry and synthetic biology, as well as state-of-the-art imaging methods including cryo-electron microscopy and fluorescence microscopy, and atomic force microscopy. This project will also provide training on proteomics, bioinformatics, and computational modelling. Training in all aspects of the project will be provided with access to world-class infrastructure in the Institute and with wide collaborators in the UK and overseas, which are valuable for career development.