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Molecular mechanisms in receptor signalling

Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences

Birmingham United Kingdom Biophysics Cardiology Cell Biology Molecular Biology Medicine

About the Project

About the Project

Understanding the molecular mechanisms of receptor signalling and regulation is detrimental for developing novel diagnostic and therapeutic tools in biomedical research e.g., in the context of thrombo-inflammation. We develop and use super-resolution microscopy and single-molecule techniques to investigate molecular processes in cells, such as T-cell activation, within the Centre of Membrane Proteins and Receptors (COMPARE) at the Universities of Birmingham and Nottingham. We use and develop a variety of tools to quantify proteins and protein-protein interactions on the single molecule level in living and fixed cells and seek to further extend our techniques to tissue samples. [1-3] This includes the development of fluorescent probes, calibration protocols, automation of microscopy experiments and sophisticated data analysis e.g., using machine learning.

We are an interdisciplinary team of researchers working on super-resolution fluorescence microscopy, correlative light and electron microscopy (CLEM) as well as labelling approaches and calibration protocols for quantitative microscopy. One of our main goals is to bring novel single-molecule techniques and fluorescent probes to biomedical and putatively clinical applications. The team science-oriented environment within COMPARE offers various connections to different receptor signalling research activities including G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) or tyrosine kinase-linked receptors (TKLRs) in the context of platelet activation or opioid treatment to give but a few examples. As PhD you will become part of this thriving community and be offered training in methods required for your project. This may include training in advanced microscopy, molecular and cell biology as well as programming and data analysis.


1.   Werther et al. 2020, 'Live‐cell localization microscopy with a fluorogenic and self‐blinking tetrazine probe', Angew. Chemie Intl. Ed. 59, 804-810.

2.   Gruβmayer et al. 2019, 'Photons in - numbers out: perspectives in quantitative fluorescence microscopy for in situ protein counting', Methods Appl. Fluoresc., 7, 012003.

3.   Ziegler et al. 2020, ‘A chemical strategy to control protein networks in vivo’ biorxiv.

Applicants should have a strong background in either biophysics, fluorescence spectroscopy, molecular biology or cell biology and a strong interest in microscopy. Experience in scripting and programming (Matlab, Python) will be beneficial for automation and data analysis. They should have a commitment to research in biophysics and hold or realistically expect to obtain at least an Upper Second Class Honours Degree in biology, biomedicine, chemistry or physics.

For information about the research activities in our laboratory, please visit:

Funding Notes

All applicants should indicate in their applications how they intend to fund their studies. We have a thriving community of home and international Masters and PhD students and encourage applications from students of any nationality able to fund their own studies, or who wish to apply for their own funding. At present, we would only consider applications from prospective students with:
• a good biomedical degree, with interests in any of the areas outlined above,
• good command of the English language as outlined in the postgraduate prospectus
• a source of funding to cover tuition fees and bench fees.

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