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Fully-funded White Rose BBSRC DTP Chemistry project: Cryo-electron microscopy study of the molecular mechanism of genome packaging by dsDNA viruses


   White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership in Mechanistic Biology

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  Prof Fred Antson  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Lead supervisor: Prof Fred Antson (Department of Chemistry)

Co-supervisors: Dr Paul Fogg (Department of Biology) Dr Oliver Bayfield (Department of Chemistry)

The student will be registered with the Department of Chemistry 

Viruses are the most abundant biological agents on our planet, infecting organisms across all domains of life. They affect humans directly through infectious diseases, as well indirectly through their impact on the biosphere. 

Packaging of the viral genome into a capsid is an essential process in the viral life cycle. This project will use a combination of cryo-electron microscopy with Biochemical, Molecular Biology and Microbiology approaches, to understand how dsDNA viruses package and store their genome. 

The project will benefit from our latest success in assembling functional DNA motors from empty capsids, DNA and terminase proteins, presenting remarkable and timely opportunities for structural (cryo-EM) and biochemical studies, as well as potential for applications of these motors in nanotechnology and biomedicine.

The outcomes of this project will be important not only for informing the development of novel therapies (e.g. against herpes viruses such as HSV1, Epstein-Barr, Cytomegalovirus) but also for understanding how viruses controlling bacterial populations could be tuned for our advantage; for example, how viruses controlling marine bacteria and the carbon cycle could be used to tackle climate change.

The Departments of Chemistry and Biology both hold 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 Biological Chemistry (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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