Cyanobacterial synthetic biology tools derived from bacteriophages
As a society we have responsibility to move towards greener technology and industry. Great advances of synthetic biology in recent years enable better and better mechanisms for solution of world problems. In this project we will be developing tools for synthetic biology to apply to cyanobacteria. Why? Cyanobacteria are photosynthetic organisms relying only on atmospheric CO2 for growth or industrial production. Therefore while making products they capture greenhouse gas from atmosphere, so the whole process in theory is not just carbon neutral, but carbon negative.
Cyanobacteria-based production of biofuels, vegan leather, bioplastics, safe organic pigments and dyes intend to replace sectors of industry with the worst environment footprints and toxic by-products. Increasingly cyanobacteria are used as a food supplement, especially valuable in developing countries.
In this project we are aiming at creating a new range of tools for synthetic biology of cyanobacteria. We will explore novel polymerases, metal-responsive transcription factors, and switch elements (promoters and terminators). These will be based either on native cyanobacterial parts or come from viruses of cyanobacteria, cyanophages.
To demonstrate the power of this toolbox we will produce an example of valuable product, such as vitamin A. Potentially our toolbox would be useful for modifying chloroplast gene expression, since its evolutionary related to cyanobacteria. Our tools will be made available for wide research community of people to experiment and develop their own ideas.
The project will be chiefly based in Newcastle University in the world-class Centre for Bacterial Cell Biology. Open space lab environment of the Centre will provide great training and interaction opportunities. Prospective student will hone his or her presentation skills on conference-like seminars held weekly in the Centre.
The prospective student will rotate in Durham University in the lab of Prof Robinson, the leading expert in molecular and cell biology of metals in bacteria. The successful applicant will acquire expertise in wide range of genetics, molecular biology, biochemical and bioinformatics techniques.
For further information see the website: https://www.ncl.ac.uk/camb
To apply Please complete the online application form and attach a full CV and covering letter. Informal enquiries may be made to [Email Address Removed]
This is a 4 year BBSRC studentship under the Newcastle-Liverpool-Durham DTP. The successful applicant will receive research costs, tuition fees and stipend (£14,777 for 2018-19). The PhD will start in October 2019. Applicants should have, or be expecting to receive, a 2.1 Hons degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject. EU candidates must have been resident in the UK for 3 years in order to receive full support. There are 2 stages to the application process.
Osman, D., Foster, A.W., Chen, J., Svedaite, K., Steed, J.W., Lurie-Luke, E., Huggins, T.G., Robinson, N.J. (2017) Fine control of metal concentrations is necessary for cells to discern zinc from cobalt. Nature Communications 8: 1884 (1-12)