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Functional analysis of novel genes important in the physiology and pathogenesis of the human pathogen Campylobacter jejuni

Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology

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About the Project

Campylobacter jejuni and E. coli are the commonest cause of human bacterial gastroenteritis worldwide. Although pathogenic in humans, C. jejuni is part of the normal commensal flora of many bird species, and contaminated poultry is a common route for infection. The basic biology of campylobacters and their virulence mechanisms are still unclear. Our research has revealed the major features of the physiology of these bacteria, that allow growth at the low oxygen concentrations found in the human and animal gut. However, there are still many novel proteins with unknown functions, some of which are strain specific. This project will mine the many available genomes of campylobacters to identify novel protein coding genes and identify their function using a combination of directed mutagenesis and phenotypic characterisation of mutants, heterologous gene cloning and protein over-expression from E. coli, purification and biochemical analysis of novel proteins. Selected proteins will be characterised by biophysical and spectroscopic techniques and crystallised for structure determination. The aim is to determine the role of novel conserved and strain specific proteins that relate to host colonisation and pathogenesis of Campylobacter jejuni. The student will be trained in molecular microbiology techniques, gene cloning, regulation and mutagenesis, protein purification and biochemical analyses in a world-leading lab in the field of campylobacter biology.

Science Graduate School

As a PhD student in one of the science departments at the University of Sheffield, you’ll be part of the Science Graduate School – a community of postgraduate researchers working across biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics and psychology. You’ll get access to training opportunities designed to support your career development by helping you gain professional skills that are essential in all areas of science. You’ll be able to learn how to recognise good research and research behaviour, improve your communication abilities and experience technologies that are used in academia, industry and many related careers. Visit www.sheffield.ac.uk/sgs to learn more.

Funding Notes

Entry requirements
First class or upper second 2(i) in a relevant subject. To formally apply for a PhD position, you must complete the University's application form using the following link: http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/postgraduate/research/apply/applying

*All applicants should ensure that both references are uploaded onto their application as a decision will be unable to be made without this information*.

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