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Ginsenosides and P2X receptors: natural resources for microbial killing. Understanding their molecular basis using computational, biological and biophysical approaches (STOKESU18DTP1)

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  • Full or part time
    Dr L Stokes
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Purinergic P2X receptors are ligand-gated ion channels involved in many physiological and pathophysiological processes. A number of selective pharmacological agents have been discovered and mapping drug binding sites is still in its infancy for this family of receptors. Ginsenosides are known to act as positive allosteric modulators at P2X7 receptors, making the receptor more sensitive to its ligand, ATP. The Stokes group is interested in studying the biological effects of ginsenoside modulation of P2X7 in immune cells and whether this action may underlie some of the reported immune boosting actions of ginsenosides in vivo. In collaboration with the Angulo group, this project will use a variety of 3D molecular modelling and molecular dynamics techniques to map out the molecular binding site for ginsenosides on P2X receptors. The binding site will be verified by biological experiments using a site-directed mutagenesis approach and novel biophysical approach using saturation transfer difference (STD) NMR spectroscopy. This project constitutes a unique opportunity for a student to be trained in a number of advanced biophysical, computational and biological techniques in two different laboratories within the School of Pharmacy at UEA gaining a unique and valuable skill set in natural product pharmacology and drug discovery.

This project has been shortlisted for funding by the Norwich Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (NRPDTP). Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed as part of the studentship competition. Candidates will be interviewed on either the 9th, 10th or 11th January 2018.
The Norwich Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (NRPDTP) offers postgraduates the opportunity to undertake a 4 year research project whilst enhancing professional development and research skills through a comprehensive training programme. You will join a vibrant community of world-leading researchers. All NRPDTP students undertake a three month professional internship (PIPS) during their study. The internship offers exciting and invaluable work experience designed to enhance professional development. Full support and advice will be provided by our Professional Internship team.
For further information and to apply, please visit our website:

For more information on the supervisor for this project, please go here:
Type of programme: PhD
Start date of project: 1st October 2018
Mode of study: Full time
Length of studentship: 4 years

Students with, or expecting to attain, at least an upper second class honours degree, or equivalent, are invited to apply.

Funding Notes

Full Studentships cover a stipend (RCUK rate: £14,553pa – 2017/8), research costs and tuition fees at UK/EU rate, and are available to UK and EU students who meet the UK residency requirements.
Students from EU countries who do not meet the UK residency requirements may be eligible for a fees-only award. Students in receipt of a fees-only award will be eligible for a maintenance stipend awarded by the NRPDTP Bioscience Doctoral Scholarships, which when combined will equal a full studentship. To be eligible students must meet the EU residency requirements. For funding eligibility guidance, please visit our website:

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