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Native Mass Spectrometry for the Structural Elucidation of Protein Machines

   School of Biosciences

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  Dr Aneika Leney, Dr A Lovering  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Native mass spectrometry is an expanding structural biology tool that is being used to elucidate the structure of protein complexes and their functions within cells. Applications of this technology are greatly expanding in the pharmaceutical industry and in medical applications. This PhD project will involve the development of mass spectrometry approaches (specifically cross-linking mass spectrometry, top-down mass spectrometry and hydrogen deuterium exchange mass spectrometry) to elucidate the function of proteins and in-doing so help solve a variety of biological problems. The University of Birmingham offers state-of-the-art high resolution mass spectrometers that are pushing the boundaries within native mass spectrometry. The PhD student will be trained in operating this equipment, experience on which is currently highly sought within the pharmaceutical industries and beyond.

Within the Leney group, the are several areas of biological focus. Native mass spectrometry and other biophysical techniques are currently being applied to study proteins involved in Alzheimer's disease, breast cancer and for the analysis of photosynthetic receptors for biotechnological applications. Thus, the PhD project will touch upon several areas of biological interest. Once completed, we envisage the PhD student will have an excellent all-around knowledge in structural biology and have the ability to apply native mass spectrometry to solve biological problems in any context, increasing greatly their opportunities for future employability.

Excellent candidates will have a passion for structural biology and be eager to learn about mass spectrometry and how these instruments operate.

Funding Notes

The project is funded through the Midlands Integrative Biosciences Training Partnership. The PhD student will be based in the School of Biosciences at the University of Birmingham. The funding covers:
- fees (at UK rate)
- a tax free stipend of at least £15,609 p.a.
- a travel allowance in year 1
- a travel / conference budget
- a generous consumables budget
- use of a laptop for the duration of the programme.
Please refer to the following websites for more details:


1) Leney A.C., Heck A.J.R. Native mass spectrometry: what is in the name? J. Am. Soc. Mass Spectrom. (2017) 28(1): 5-13.
2) Tamara S., Hoeka M., Scheltema R.A., Leney A.C.*, Heck A.J.R.* A colorful pallet of B-phycoerythrin proteoforms exposed by a multimodal mass spectrometry approach. Chem. (2019) 5(5): 1302-1317.
Recent Press Articles on use of Native Mass Spectrometry (Leney group):
Please also refer to our website: https://www.leney-mass-spectrometry.com

How good is research at University of Birmingham in Biological Sciences?

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