Oxford Brookes University
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
Department of Biological and Medical Sciences
3 Year, full-time funded PhD Studentship
Project Title: Functional characterisation of a novel class of insect ligand-gated ion channels
Director of Studies: Dr Andrew Jones
Other supervisors: Prof Philip Biggin (University of Oxford)
Insect ligand-gated ion channels (LGICs) are molecular targets of highly effective insecticides. Further studies of these receptors will help understand better how insecticides work and aid in the design of novel compounds that selectively target pest species whilst sparing non-target organisms. The restricted use of neonicotinoids in the European Union amidst fears that they are having adverse effects on pollinators such as the honey bee, Apis mellifera, has resulted in the use of an older class of pesticides, pyrethroids, to which pests have become resistant. There is thus the need to develop novel and safer pest control agents.
The project will functionally characterise a novel class of insect LGIC, a serotonin-gated ion channel, recently identified at Oxford Brookes University. Techniques used will include PCR, DNA cloning, two-electrode voltage-clamp electrophysiology and, in collaboration with Prof. Philip Biggin at the University of Oxford, three-dimensional homology modelling of the LGICs. The serotonin receptor from insect pests that damage crops, such as moths and beetles, as well as from non-target insects, such as the honey bee, will be studied to determine whether there are differences that can be exploited in the rational design of improved insecticides that have higher selectivity for pests over beneficial species.
Contact: [Email Address Removed]
Applicants should have a first or upper second-class honours degree from a Higher Education Institution or acceptable equivalent qualification in biological science or related discipline. Non-UK Applicants must have a valid IELTS Academic test certificate (or equivalent) with an overall minimum score of 7.0 and no score below 6.0 issued in the last 2 years by an approved test centre.
The studentship requires you to undertake 6 hours teaching per week during semester time.
How to apply: Applicants should email [Email Address Removed] to request an application form.