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Fully-funded White Rose BBSRC DTP Biology project: Characterization of novel bacteria membrane stress response system

   White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership in Mechanistic Biology

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  Prof G H Thomas  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Lead supervisor: Prof Gavin Thomas (Department of Biology)

Co-supervisors: Prof Marjan Van Der Woude (Hull York Medical School) and Dr Ben Willson (Department of Biology)

The student will be registered with the Department of Biology

Bacteria face a constant stream of environmental stresses that damage the cell and the cell membrane is a fragile but critical component that needs protection. A family of proteins called IM30 proteins are thought to play important roles as ‘first responders’ to membrane damage, working through a poorly studied mechanism to rescue membrane function. These are ancient proteins found also in the chloroplasts of plants where they also interact with membranes in different ways and their function in a range of biotechnologically useful microbes could provide novel routes to producing more robust chassis for biomanufacturing. 

In this project, the student will study a gene cluster present in bacterial pathogens that encodes a novel IM30 protein and elucidate its function. The project include bacterial genetics and physiology of E. coli and Salmonella sp. and biochemical study of the IM30 proteins themselves, giving a broad training in a large well-funded research group in York. The function of this cluster is also potentially linked to antimicrobial resistance to membrane active antibiotics and could uncover exciting new route to help combat antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The student will joint an exciting larger team of researchers studying IM30 protein function more generally through a major BBSRC sLoLa award, that includes collaborators in Cambridge, Newcastle and Nottingham, providing additional opportunities for skills development and travel.

The Department of Biology holds an Athena SWAN Gold Award. We are committed to supporting equality and diversity and strive to provide a positive working environment for all staff and students. 

The WR DTP and the University of York are committed to recruiting 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 we 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 any biological, chemical, and/or physical science backgrounds, or students with mathematical background who are interested in using their skills in addressing biological questions. 

Programme: PhD in Mechanistic Biology (4 years)

Start Date: 1st October 2023

Interviews: Friday 10 February 2023 or Monday 13 February 2023. Please keep these dates free.

Funding Notes

This project is part of the BBSRC White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership in Mechanistic Biology. Appointed candidates will be fully-funded for 4 years. The funding includes:
Tax-free annual UKRI stipend (£17,668 for 2022/23 academic year)
UK tuition fees
Research support and training charges (RSTC)
International students will need to have sufficient funds to cover the costs of their student visa, NHS health surcharge, travel insurance and transport to the UK as these are excluded from UKRI funding.

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