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Modulating Protein-Protein Interactions of Intrinsically Disordered Regions using a Chemical Biology Approach

   Faculty of Biological Sciences

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  Prof A J Wilson, Prof S E Radford  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Intrinsically disordered regions (IDRs) are ubiquitous stretches of protein that do not adopt a stable structure. Proteins that contain IDRs are important players in many of biology’s key pathways, and their dysfunction is causative of diseases spanning cancer to neurodegeneration.

This studentship will exploit structural biophysics and chemical biology approaches to understand and manipulate the interactions of Aurora A with its intrinsically disordered regulators and clients (e.g. TACC3, TPX2 and N-MYC. Aurora A (AurA) is a mitotic kinase and compelling cancer target, that has proven refractory to conventional kinase inhibition.

In this interdisciplinary project you will join a vibrant, diverse and collaborative group of researchers to gain skills and knowledge in chemical, biophysical structural and biochemical approaches to discover the kinetic and thermodynamic determinants of Aurora A/client interactions, and you will then develop reagents able to target these interactions using novel fragment-based screening methods. You will join with Wilson and Radford groups and participate in our wider collaborative research e.g. with experts in cancer structural biology (Richard Bayliss). The results will establish a platform to identify modulators of IDRs/IDPs and facilitate mechanistic understanding of the nature of IDR/protein interactions: a basic question of critical importance and tools to drive drug-discovery.


You should hold a first degree equivalent to at least a UK upper-second class honours degree or a MSc degree in a relevant subject.

Applicants whose first language is not English must provide evidence that their English language is sufficient to meet the specific demands of their study. The Faculty of Biological Sciences minimum requirements in IELTS and TOEFL tests are:

  • British Council IELTS - score of 6.0 overall, with no element less than 5.5
  • TOEFL iBT - overall score of 87 with the listening and reading element no less than 20, writing element no less than 21 and the speaking element no less than 22.

How to apply:

To apply for this project applicants should complete an online application form and attach the following documentation to support their application. 

  • a full academic CV
  • degree certificate and transcripts of marks
  • Evidence that you meet the University's minimum English language requirements (if applicable).

To help us identify that you are applying for this studentship please ensure you provide the following information on your application form;

  • Select PhD in Biological Sciences as your programme of study
  • When asked for source of funding please make it clear that you are applying for a "White Rose BBSRC DTP Studentship"
  • Give the full project title and name the supervisors listed in this advert. You can be considered for up to 3 projects in total.

If you have any further queries regarding this opportunity, please contact [Email Address Removed]

Funding Notes

This opportunity is funded by the White Rose BBSRC DTP and will attract an annual tax-free stipend of £17,668 (based on the 2022/23 rate). The award will also cover academic fees. This opportunity is available to UK and International fee rated applicants. Please note that any expenses related to the relocation of international students to the UK (visa, insurance, NHS fees, flights, etc) would be their responsibility and are not covered by this award.

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