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  Self-funded BMSProject: Metal-mediated chemical protein modification

   York Biomedical Research Institute

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  Dr C Spicer, Dr M Plevin  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Chemically modified proteins can be used to understand, treat, and diagnose disease. However, relatively few chemical reactions can be used to modify proteins, severely limiting the diversity and applications of new technologies. There is an urgent need for new chemical tools that produce modified proteins with new and exciting functions. In this project, we will address this challenge by exploiting our expertise in metal-mediated chemistry to produce two new classes of modified proteins, that can be used to probe how proteins interact with each other and cause disease, and the mechanisms by which they fold and form complex 3D structures.

This highly interdisciplinary project will combine elements of organic chemistry, bioconjugation, protein expression and characterisation, and cell biology. It is therefore ideally suited to a student with a background in chemistry who is seeking to broaden their expertise, and will be co-supervised by Dr Chris Spicer (Chemistry) and Dr Michael Plevin (Biology).

We will start by optimising new palladium-catalysed reactions on small molecule and peptide systems, before translating these to larger proteins. Having validated are new chemistries, we will go on to use them to study key protein-protein interactions responsible for human disease, and to generate unnatural analogues of aromatic amino acids that can be used to study the key roles played by these residues in protein structure and function.

The York Biomedical Research Institute at the University of York is committed to recruiting extraordinary future scientists regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, disability, sexual orientation or career pathway to date. We understand that commitment and excellence can be shown in many ways and have built our recruitment process to reflect this. We welcome applicants from all backgrounds, particularly those underrepresented in science, who have curiosity, creativity and a drive to learn new skills.

Entry Requirements: Students with, or expecting to gain, at least an upper second class honours degree, or equivalent, are invited to apply. The interdisciplinary nature of this programme means that we welcome applications from students with backgrounds in any biological, chemical, and/or physical science, or students with mathematical backgrounds who are interested in using their skills in addressing biological questions. 

Programme: PhD in Biomedical Science (3 years)

Start Date: 1st October 2022 (the student will be affiliated with the Department of Chemistry)

Biological Sciences (4) Chemistry (6) Physics (29)

Funding Notes

This is a self-funded PhD research project. Applicants need to have adequate funds to meet the costs of fees and living expenses for the duration of the PhD programme.

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