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Regulating biosynthesis of the pigments of life

  • Full or part time
    Dr A Hitchcock
    Dr P Jackson
    Prof Neil Hunter
  • Application Deadline
    Tuesday, March 31, 2020
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Tetrapyrroles are often referred to as the pigments of life as they are required for a number of vital cellular processes, including respiration (haems), photosynthesis (chlorophylls), amino acid biosynthesis (vitamin B12), sulphur and nitrogen assimilation (sirohaem) and methanogenesis (cofactor F430). These pigments are made on a huge global scale by a system of branched pathways and it is important to understand how organisms control this biosynthetic network, and how they balance levels of each pigment in the cell.

Purple phototrophic bacteria are some of the most metabolically diverse organisms on the planet and are excellent model organisms for studying tetrapyrrole biosynthesis. During photosynthetic growth these bacteria must simultaneously produce haem, sirohaem, bacteriochlorophyll and vitamin B1 and coordinate metabolic flux to each of the pathways. This PhD project will investigate the regulatory and biosynthetic processes that allow these versatile microorganisms to manage tetrapyrrole synthesis to meet their changing biochemical needs.

The successful candidate will receive training in a range of techniques including bioinformatics, molecular genetics, recombinant protein purification, biochemical analysis, enzymology, spectroscopy, structural biology and mass spectrometry. The student will be based in the collaborative, multidisciplinary molecular photosynthesis research group in the Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology and will have access to the world-class facilities at the University of Sheffield.

For informal enquiries please contact .

Science Graduate School

As a PhD student in one of the science departments at the University of Sheffield, you’ll be part of the Science Graduate School – a community of postgraduate researchers working across biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics and psychology. You’ll get access to training opportunities designed to support your career development by helping you gain professional skills that are essential in all areas of science. You’ll be able to learn how to recognise good research and research behaviour, improve your communication abilities and experience technologies that are used in academia, industry and many related careers. Visit http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/sgs to learn more.

Funding Notes

A 4 year PhD studentship is available. The studentship comes with full tuition fees and is available to UK/EU students. Stipend is at the standard UKRI rate (currently £15.009 pa).

Eligibility: Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, a minimum of an upper-second-class Honours degree (2.1 or above) in a relevant subject.

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

FTE Category A staff submitted: 44.90

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities


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