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Stopping greenhouse gas emission from soil bacteria by targeting DNA/RNA secondary structures (GATESA_U21SCIVC)

School of Biological Sciences

Norwich United Kingdom Bacteriology Biochemistry Biophysics Biotechnology Microbiology Molecular Biology Molecular Genetics

About the Project

As well as carbon dioxide (CO2), other important climate-active gases are known to drive global warming. Importantly, nitrous oxide (N2O), is a greenhouse gas with 300-times greater global warming power than CO2 and it also contributes to the destruction of the ozone layer. Production of N2O is a by-product of modern farming, where after applying fertilizers, soil-based bacteria consume nitrate and generate N2O. By understanding how bacteria do this and developing tools to control it, we could potentially reduce future biological N2O emissions, allowing recovery of the ozone layer and help reduce global climate change. 

This PhD project will develop understanding of how DNA and RNA structures control nitrogen assimilation and N2O production in bacteria and how we can use small molecules to control these pathways in cells. The project will provide training in a wide-range of biophysical, molecular biology and microbiological techniques, from characterizing the types of DNA/RNA structures, gene expression studies to ligand-binding assays. Led by Dr Andrew Gates (UEA), Prof David Richardson (UEA) and Dr Zoë Waller (UCL), this project will be based in the School of Biological Sciences and the student will also work using facilities across the Norwich Research Park. 

The successful candidate will have, or expect to obtain a first class, 2(i) or equivalent honours degree in Microbiology, Biochemistry, Chemistry, Pharmacy or a related area. 

Informal enquiries are welcomed; for further information please contact Dr Andrew Gates (). 

For more information on the supervisor for this project, please go here:

This is a PhD programme. The start date is 1 October 2021. The mode of study is full time. The studentship length is 3 years.

Funding Notes

This PhD project is funded by the Faculty of Science for 3 years. Funding includes a stipend (£15,609 pa, 2021-22), tuition fees (Home only) and research costs. International applicants (EU/non-EU) are eligible for UEA funded studentships but they are required to fund the difference between Home and International tuition fees. EU applicants who have pre/settled status may be eligible for home tuition fees. (Tuition fees are detailed at View Website. Please note tuition fees are subject to an annual increase).


i) Sullivan, M.J. et al. (2013) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 110, 19926.
ii) Waller Z.A.E. et al. (2016) Chem. Commun. 52, 13511.
iii) Abdelhamid M.A.S. et al. (2018) Nucleic acids Res. 46, 5886.

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