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Functional and structural characterization of a putative atypical kinase in Mycobacteria

Project Description

Tuberculosis (TB), caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), is a major burden for global healthcare. Increasing multi-drug resistance in Mtb makes treatment of TB harder every year. Therefore, identification of potential drug targets in this pathogen to enable the development of new antibiotics is strongly needed. In this project, the goal is to establish whether an essential, but yet uncharacterized protein in Mtb, has kinase activity and is involved in cell envelope synthesis and the electron transport chain. A dedicated PhD student will work on two parallel, yet complementary, research paths. In the first, (s)he will be applying protein expression, crystallization and biochemistry techniques, while in the other (s)he will create a mutant strain in Mycobacterium smegmatis and characterize that strain using several bacterial assays. This work will not only add fundamental knowledge to the fields of protein kinases, Mycobacterial cell envelope biosynthesis and its respiratory chain, but could also contribute to future drug development. We are looking for an eager and skilled individual, preferably with an MRes background in Mycobacterial genetics.


The candidate should have a master’s degree (or equivalent qualification) in microbiology, biochemistry or cell biology, with proven laboratory skills. Evidence of good spoken and written English is essential. The candidate should have an IELTS score of 6.5 or above, if the first language is not English. This position is open to all qualified candidates irrespective of nationality. For more information please visit:


The PhD studentship is available for 3 years, subject to satisfactory progress by the student. The award covers tuition fees for 3 years and provides a monthly stipend of 5,000 RMB. It also provides up to RMB 16,500 to allow participation at international conferences during the period of the award. It is a condition of the award that holders of XJTLU PhD scholarships carry out 300-500 hours of teaching assistance work per year. The PhD candidate is expected to carry out the major part of his or her research at XJTLU in Suzhou, China, however, is eligible for a research study visit to the University of Liverpool of up to three months, if required by the project.

How to Apply

Interested applicants are advised to email Dr. Boris Tefsen the following documents for initial review and assessment (please put the project title in the subject line).
• CV
• Two reference letters with company/university letterhead
• Personal statement outlining your interest in the position
• Proof of English language proficiency (an IELTS score of 6.5 or above)
• Verified school transcripts in both Chinese and English (for international students, only the English version is required)
• Verified certificates of education qualifications in both Chinese and English (for international students, only the English version is required)
• PDF copy of Master Degree dissertation (or an equivalent writing sample) and examiners reports available

Informal enquiries to Dr. Boris Tefsen (


The student will be awarded a PhD degree from the University of Liverpool (UK) upon successful completion of the program.

What else do we offer

The Department of Biological Sciences at XJTLU is run by a group of international staff ( and currently harbours around 30 PG students with a diverse background, thereby providing a dynamic working environment. The laboratory is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment, that is well-maintained by our technical staff. The modern campus has several accommodation options nearby (

Funding Notes

- for 3 years, subject to satisfactory progress by the student
- monthly stipend of 5,000 RMB
- up to RMB 16,500 for (international) conferences
- holders of XJTLU PhD scholarships carry out 300-500 hours of teaching assistance work per year

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