Fully-Funded EPSRC iCase Project with FUJIFILM: Computational prediction of purification strategies for industrial protein production

   Department of Biology

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  Dr M Plevin, Prof S Stepney, Dr J Cartwright  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Lead Supervisor: Dr Michael Plevin (Department of Biology)

Co-Supervisors: Prof Steve Stepney (Department of Computer Science), Dr Jared Cartwright (Department of Biology), and Dr C Fox (FUJIFILM)

The manufacture of proteins for research, therapeutic and industrial use has an annual market worth billions. Purification is a critical step in the manufacturing process. Typically, target proteins are purified using multiple bind/elute chromatography steps, and substantial experimentation is required to design and optimise a bespoke process for each target. A generic purification process would reduce both cost and time, and introduce flexibility. It would address a real-world need for economic and flexible production of proteins in smaller amounts for more specialised or smaller markets, and would allow low volume production facilities to be located closer to the point of use, for example, in remote hospitals, the developing world, or in crewed space exploration. The goal of this project is to develop a new computational modelling and optimisation approach to discover and define generic purification protocols for protein targets. 

This 4-year fully-funded EPSRC CASE PhD project is a collaboration between the Departments of Biology and Computer Science at University of York and FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies (FDBK). You will work in a highly supportive research environment that bridges academia and industry. You will receive training across all disciplines of the project, and spend 3 months working at FDBK, a national leader in the field, to gain experience in industrial protein production. This highly interdisciplinary project would suit candidates with a degree in chemistry, physics or engineering. Candidates should also have strong computational and modelling skills, practical experience in lab-based research, and an interest in applying these skills to a real-life industrial problem.

The Department of Biology at the University of York is committed to recruiting extraordinary future scientists regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, disability, sexual orientation or career pathway to date. We understand that commitment and excellence can be shown in many ways and have built our recruitment process to reflect this. We welcome applicants from all backgrounds, particularly those underrepresented in science, who have curiosity, creativity and a drive to learn new skills.

Entry Requirements: Students with, or expecting to gain, at least an upper second class honours degree, or equivalent, are invited to apply. The interdisciplinary nature of this programme means that we welcome applications from students with backgrounds in any biological, chemical, and/or physical science, or students with mathematical backgrounds who are interested in using their skills in addressing biological questions.

Programme: PhD in Biology (4 years)

Start date: We're currently accepting applications on a rolling basis and the closing date for applications is flexible. However, the funding timeline for this studentship means the latest we can enrol any new starters will be 1st October 2023. We would therefore encourage candidates to apply as soon as possible and confirm in the application their preferred start date: 1st January, 1st April, 1st June, or 1st October 2023.

Chemistry (6) Computer Science (8) Engineering (12) Physics (29)

Funding Notes

This 4-year fully-funded EPSRC CASE PhD project is a collaboration between the Departments of Biology and Computer Science at University of York and FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies (FDBK). This studentship covers: (i) a tax-free stipend at the standard Research Council rate (£17,668 for 2022/23 entry but typically increases annually in line with inflation)), (ii) research costs, and (iii) tuition fees at the UK rate.

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