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Funded PhD studentship: Investigating the molecular basis of cataract formation

Faculty of Life Sciences

Dr Briony Yorke , Dr Yvonne Nyathi , Dr Jonathan Denniss Friday, March 26, 2021 Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Cataracts are the leading cause of age-related blindness worldwide and currently surgery is the only available treatment. To develop more accessible treatments (such as eye drops), detailed molecular mechanisms of how cataracts develop must be elucidated. Cataracts develop when crystallin proteins in the lens, aggregate into cloudy/opaque deposits that obstruct vision.  Using a combination of state-of-the-art time-resolved X-ray crystallographic techniques, in vitro and cell-based assays this interdisciplinary project aims to:

  • Investigate UV-induced conformational changes and aggregation of purified native and γ-D crystallin mutants
  • Resolve the aggregation of native and mutant γ-D crystallin and changes in chaperone secretion in lens epithelial cells.
  • Model how structural changes of γ-D crystallin lead to aggregation and cataract formation.

Candidates are expected to hold (or be about to obtain) a minimum upper second-class honours degree (or equivalent) in a related area such as Biochemistry, Cell Biology, Biomedical Sciences, or Structural Biology. Although training will be provided, experience in techniques such as site directed mutagenesis, protein purification, mammalian cell culture, immunofluorescence microscopy, SDS-PAGE, immunoprecipitation, and spectroscopy techniques will be an added advantage.

Funding Notes

Funding will be provided which will cover UK tuition and bench fees, and a stipend for living costs. Non-UK students will need to self-fund the difference between the UK and International rates.

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