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Spectroscopy and Electrochemistry of Diheme Cytochromes (BUTTJ1U19SF)

Project Description

Pathogens such as Campylobacter jejuni can live in anaerobic environments through their ability to use tetrathionate, rather than oxygen, as a respiratory substrate. In this project you will use optical spectroscopies, protein film electrochemistry and mass spectrometry to resolve the mechanism of tetrathionate reduction by members of the TsdA family of di-heme cytochromes.

In this self-funded PhD project, you will join research teams led by Prof Julea Butt and Dr Myles Cheesman in the School of Chemistry at the University of East Anglia and participate in a research collaboration with Dr Christiane Dahl at the University of Bonn. You will work in a supportive environment to resolve the chemical nature of axial ligands to the heme cofactors, reduction potentials of the hemes and the impact of substrates and inhibitors on these properties. You will be trained to become expert in optical spectroscopies, protein film electrochemistry, potentiometry, mass spectrometry and enzymology.

The successful candidate should have (or expect to have) a UK Honours Degree (or equivalent) at 2.1 or above in Chemistry, Biochemistry or a related subject and have interests in spectroscopy, electrochemistry and metalloproteins. There will be opportunities for Chinese applicants to obtain funding for a project on this topic via our joint PhD programme with SUSTech in Shenzhen.

Informal enquiries can be made to Prof Julea Butt () with a copy of your curriculum vitae and cover letter.

Applications are processed as soon as they are received and the project may be filled before the closing date, so early application is encouraged.

Project Start Date: Oct 2019
Mode of Study: Full-time
Acceptable First Degree: Chemistry, Biochemistry, Natural Sciences, Biophysics
Minimum Entry Requirements: UK 2:1

Funding Notes

This PhD project is offered on a self-funding basis. It is open to applicants with funding or those applying to funding sources. Details of tuition fees can be found at View Website.

A bench fee is also payable on top of the tuition fee to cover specialist equipment or laboratory costs required for the research. The amount charged annually will vary considerably depending on the nature of the project and applicants should contact the primary supervisor for further information about the fee associated with the project.


i) Electrochemistry of Surface-Confined Enzymes: Inspiration, Insight and Opportunity for Sustainable Biotechnology. Current Opinions Electrochemistry (2018). DOI: 10.1016/j.coelec.2018.03.021

ii) Influence of haem environment on the catalytic properties of the tetrathionate reductase TsdA from Campylobacter jejuni. Bioscience Reports (2017). DOI: 10.1042/BSR20160457

iii) Electron Accepting Units of the Diheme Cytochrome c TsdA, a Bifunctional Thiosulfate Dehydrogenase/Tetrathionate Reductase. Journal of Biological Chemistry (2016). DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M116.753863

iv) Catalytic protein film electrochemistry provides a direct measure of the tetrathionate/thiosulfate reduction potential. Journal of the American Chemical Society (2015). DOI: 10.1021/jacs.5b08291

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