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Discovering Chemical Tools to Target Membranes


   Department of Chemistry

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  Dr M Ulmschneider, Prof U Eggert  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Lipids are critically important molecules underpinning a diverse range of essential biological functions. Together with proteins, they are major constituents of all cellular membranes. This means that lipids are involved in virtually every cellular and organismal process (e.g., viral infections, membrane and organelle biology, cell-cell interactions, tissue development and proper functioning of the immune system). Lipid dysfunction is associated with numerous diseases, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and many rare diseases.

Despite the huge importance of lipids, it is generally not well understood how lipids and proteins interact with each other within membranes. It has been challenging to study lipids because they cannot be imaged and manipulated as easily as proteins. We will address this issue by using a combination of experimental and computational tools that have been developed in the Ulmschneider and Eggert groups to design and characterise a new class of peptides that can distinguish between membranes of different lipid composition. Cells express many thousand distinct lipid species, leading to the hypothesis that one of the reasons for this diversity is that lipids and proteins interact specifically with each other, both directly and within larger groups called domains, and that these interactions determine membrane properties and function. The goal of this PhD project is to investigate this hypothesis using a highly interdisciplinary and innovative approach ranging from chemical biology, biophysics and computer modelling to cell biology.

You will be trained in a broad range of emerging techniques including computational modeling, biophysics, mass spectrometry microscopy and cell biology.

For informal enquires email: martin.ulmschneider(@)kcl.ac.uk; ulrike.eggert(@)kcl.ac.uk Group Site: www.kcl.ac.uk/research/ulmschneider; www.kcl.ac.uk/lsm/research/divisions/randall/research/sections/motility/eggert/index.aspx

Application Procedure

Send your CV and a research statement to PGR-chemistry(@)kcl.ac.uk

Your research statement must detail:

  1. Your previous research experience (final year projects, summer placements, year in industry etc).
  2. Why you want to do a PhD and why you chose this programme

Complete an online application on the King’s College myApplication system at apply.kcl.ac.uk/

  1. Register a new account/login
  2. Once logged in, select Create a new application
  3. Enter ‘Chemistry Research MPhil/PhD (Full-time/Part-time)' under Choose a programme. Please ensure you select the correct mode of study.

CV submission and online application MUST both be completed by the deadline.

At King’s, we are deeply committed to embedding good equality and diversity practice into all of our activities so that the university is an inclusive, welcoming and inspiring place to study, regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, marital status, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion, sex or sexual orientation.


Funding Notes

The studentships are funded for 4 years, with a stipend at the standard research council rate, which is presently £17,609 per annum including London Allowance, and cover the full cost of Home tuition fees. Income tax is not payable on the stipend.

References

[1] C. H. Chen et al. J. Amer. Chem. Soc. 2019, 141, 12, 4839-4848.
[2] J. G. Carlton et al. Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2020, 21, 3, 151-166.
[3] G. E. Atilla-Gokcumen et al. Cell. 2014, 156, 3, 428-39.
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