About the Project
Heart disease kills 17 million people per year worldwide. A build-up of fatty deposits in the arteries, called plaques, means oxygenated blood does not reach the heart. Interestingly, patients with heart disease often correlates with them having oral bacterial disease. Recently it was shown there are bacterial species found in plaques in both the mouth and arteries. These bacteria make a protective biofilm for protection, which forms part of the plaque. The bacteria in the biofilm cannot obtain nutrition easily, and so need enzymes that break down carbohydrates for energy. The aim of the project is to understand how these enzymes function. If enzyme inhibitors are identified, biofilm growth and hence plaque formation could be limited, thus impacting progression of heart disease.
This project will be inter-disciplinary using a range of techniques including molecular biology, protein biochemistry, enzymology, structural biology (X-ray crystallography) and microbiology. Work will involve expression and characterization of the enzyme, crystallisation and structure determination of the protein in complex with substrates/products, enzyme assay development, testing inhibitors, and exploring the effect on biofilm production and bacterial growth. The project will equip the student with a wide range of techniques, both in the laboratory and transferable skills such as writing, presentations, time management, exploration of own ideas, and organisation.
Any informal enquiries can be directed to Dr Tracey Gloster (email@example.com).
Keywords: Biochemistry, structural biology, enzymology, glycobiology.
Applications can be made online via our online portal- https://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/study/apply/postgraduate/research/
Funded by the School of Biology, University of St Andrews. The studentship covers tuition fees (Home and Overseas) and a living allowance for a duration of 3.5 years.
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