About the Project
A 3.5-year PhD studentship funded by the Cystic Fibrosis Trust is available at the University of Bristol from September 2021. In this project, we aim to understand better the folding and function of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) to identify innovative new therapeutics for the genetic disease cystic fibrosis (CF). Despite the development of CFTR-targeting drugs, not all people with CF benefit from these drugs.
In this interdisciplinary project, you will integrate state-of-the-art molecular modelling and in silico drug screening with cutting-edge functional studies of CFTR. Utilising the University’s high performance computing facilities, you will use molecular docking and molecular dynamics simulations to investigate interactions between CFTR and novel therapeutics. These models will be used to generate hypotheses for testing in cells expressing human CFTR with the Ussing chamber and patch-clamp techniques.
The project brings together a multi-disciplinary team of researchers in Bristol (Dr Katy Sutcliffe and Prof David Sheppard) and Paris (Prof Isabelle Callebaut) that are part of a CF Trust-funded Strategic Research Centre (SRC), a virtual research centre, with other colleagues from Utrecht and Brussels. Through the SRC, you will receive thorough training in cutting-edge biomedical research methods, network closely with other SRC trainees and visit the laboratory of Prof Callebaut. Start date permitting, you will be an incorporated student of the GW4 Biomed DTP funded by the MRC (https://gw4biomed.ac.uk/) and benefit from its exceptional training opportunities.
You will be based with Prof. Sheppard’s group in the School of Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience (https://www.bristol.ac.uk/phys-pharm-neuro/), where you will be part of a community investigating ion channel function in different organ systems at the molecular, cell and tissue levels. Recent publications from Dr Sutcliffe, Prof Callebaut and Prof Sheppard, include Dekan Z et al. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019; 116:22353-22358; Hoffmann B et al. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2018; 75:3829-3855 and Liu J et al. Br J Pharmacol. 2018; 175:1017-1038.
The PhD position is available to start in September 2021 (there is some flexibility in exact dates). Informal enquiries are very welcome and can be sent to Prof Sheppard (D.N.Sheppard@bristol.ac.uk). To apply, visit http://www.bristol.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/apply/.
Closing date: 20th August 2021
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