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Exploring the biochemistry of oxidative biomass breakdown towards improved sustainability.

Project Description

Efficiently degrading and making use of lignocellulosic waste materials remains a major challenge towards ensuring a more sustainable future. It is in this context that Lytic Polysaccharide Monooxygenases (LPMOs) have risen to prominence thanks to their ability to enhance the efficiency with which cellulose can be degraded by enzymes. Work in our lab is focused on the study of potential new accessory proteins which may be used to activate LPMOs thereby limiting the release of damaging oxidative species and improving the lifetime of industrial enzyme cocktails.

You will build on our current research by exploring the interplay between extracellular proteins from Cellvibrio japonicus during biomass breakdown. We have identified a protein domain that appears capable of powering LPMO activity but a source of electrons is required for its efficient use. You will therefore explore engineering approaches towards generating a novel and efficient enzyme based LPMO activator using this domain as a starting point. In parallel, you will work directly in the organism to identify binding partners for LPMOs, and other proteins of interest from the genome. Taken together, your results will provide considerable new insight into how best LPMOs can be harnessed for human gain and the biochemistry of bacterial cellulose metabolism.

Funding Notes

White Rose BBSRC Doctoral Training Partnership in Mechanistic Biology
4 year fully-funded programme of integrated research and skills training, starting Oct 2020:
• Research Council Stipend
• UK/EU Tuition Fees
• Conference and research funding

At least a 2:1 honours degree or equivalent. We welcome students with backgrounds in biological, chemical or physical sciences, or mathematical backgrounds with an interest in biological questions.

EU candidates require 3 years of UK residency to receive full studentship

Not all projects will be funded; the DTP will appoint a limited number of candidates via a competitive process.

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

FTE Category A staff submitted: 60.90

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

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