Don't miss our weekly PhD newsletter | Sign up now Don't miss our weekly PhD newsletter | Sign up now

  Design and Folding of beta barrel membrane proteins

   Faculty of Biological Sciences

  ,  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

The cell walls of Gram negative bacteria are packed with b-barrel outer membrane proteins (OMPs) whose function are essential for bacterial growth and virulence. Targeting OMP biogenesis is thus a potential route to combat antibiotic resistance. OMPs are also attractive as nanoscale sensor scaffolds. These exciting opportunities are yet to be realized, however, due to our poor understanding of how OMPs fold. In recent work with David Baker (Seattle, USA) we have successfully created the first de novo designed 8-stranded transmembrane b-barrel proteins (TMBs) (Vorobiova et al., Science (2021). In this PhD studentship we will use these protein sequences as a “blank canvas” to enable the determinants of folding of OMPs to be understood for the first time.

 You will use a wide range of techniques and approaches spanning molecular biology, biochemistry, biophysics and structural biology, to

  1. Deliver new fundamental understanding of the design principles of OMP sequences for efficient folding in vitro; and
  2. Enable new understanding of sequence and structural motifs that enable efficient folding of OMPs in vivo

 The outcome will be new fundamental knowledge of sequence-structure relationships in OMP folding and the translation of this knowledge for benefits in biotechnology and medicine. 


You should hold a first degree equivalent to at least a UK upper-second class honours degree or a MSc degree in a relevant subject.

Applicants whose first language is not English must provide evidence that their English language is sufficient to meet the specific demands of their study. The Faculty of Biological Sciences minimum requirements in IELTS and TOEFL tests are:

  • British Council IELTS - score of 6.0 overall, with no element less than 5.5
  • TOEFL iBT - overall score of 87 with the listening and reading element no less than 20, writing element no less than 21 and the speaking element no less than 22.

How to apply:

To apply for this project applicants should complete an online application form and attach the following documentation to support their application. 

  • a full academic CV
  • degree certificate and transcripts of marks
  • Evidence that you meet the University's minimum English language requirements (if applicable).
  • Evidence of funding

To help us identify that you are applying for this project please ensure you provide the following information on your application form;

  • Select PhD in Biological Sciences as your programme of study
  • Give the full project title and name the supervisors listed in this advert

For information about the application process please contact the Faculty Admissions Team:


Biological Sciences (4)

Funding Notes

This project is open to applicants who have the funding to support their own studies or who have a sponsor who will cover these costs.

How good is research at University of Leeds in Biological Sciences?

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

Register your interest for this project

Where will I study?

Search Suggestions
Search suggestions

Based on your current searches we recommend the following search filters.