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Molecular mechanisms of blindness resulting from retinitis pigmentosa mutations in the visual receptor rhodopsin

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, November 22, 2019
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

We are inviting applications from highly committed, talented individuals to study the molecular basis of Retinitis Pigmentosa, a rare genetic disorder that results in degeneration of the retina eventually leading to irreversible vision loss.

A large number of Retinitis Pigmentosa mutations map to the gene encoding rhodopsin, the dim-light visual receptor located in rod photoreceptor cells. The aims of this research project are: to investigate the molecular mechanisms of misfolding, proteolytic processing, and malfunction in these mutant receptors, to understand why they trigger destruction of photoreceptor cells, and to develop drug-screening platforms to enable identification of molecules for therapeutic intervention.

We are looking for a bright and highly motivated individual to complete a PhD in this area. The student will be involved with all aspects of research including mutant design, stable mammalian cell line construction, membrane protein purification and biochemical and biophysical characterization of mutant pigments. Full training in these techniques will be provided. The student will also spend training periods at the Institute of Ophthalmology (UCL) under the supervision of Professor Mike Cheetham.

Candidates for this studentship, funded jointly by Fight for Sight and the School of Life Sciences, to start on the January 13th, 2020, must hold or expect a 1st class or high 2:1 BSc (Hons) degree, and ideally an MSc with merit/distinction or equivalent in the molecular biosciences. This three-year PhD studentship carries a stipend, starting at £15,009, with Home/EU fees also paid.

How to Apply
Please apply by sending a CV (including contact details of two academic referees) and a cover letter explaining your motivation and suitability for the PhD to Emma Revill by 22nd November 2019. If you have any questions please feel free to contact the supervisor

For general information about the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Essex please visit our webpages

Funding Notes

The award consists of a full Home/EU fee waiver or equivalent fee discount for overseas students (further fee details), a doctoral stipend equivalent to the Research Councils UK National Minimum Doctoral Stipend (£15,009 in 2019-20), plus £2,500 training bursary via Proficio funding, which may be used to cover the cost of advanced skills training including conference attendance and travel.

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