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Structural basis for bacterial antibiotic resistance by sodium-dependent secondary transporters


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  Dr A Wagner, Dr K Beis  Applications accepted all year round

About the Project

Bacteria utilise membrane transporters as an essential mechanism for cell growth and survival, as well as to detoxify them from toxic compounds, including antibiotics. Primary active transporters harness the energy from ATP hydrolysis to transport molecules against a concentration gradient, while secondary active transporters use the energy stored in concentration gradients of protons or ions. Some secondary transporters utilise the Na+ gradient across membranes, created by other transporters that actively pump Na+ out of the cell, to drive the extrusion of solutes out of the cell. In this studentship, we want to understand the structural basis of antibiotic resistance by sodium-dependent secondary transporters including the role of Na+ in the process. We will also perform biochemical assays to characterise the ligand binding site and how Na+ regulates the function of the transporters. The work will refine our understanding on how these transporters operate since many of them are involved in multidrug resistance.

This project is fully funded for 3 years (3-year PhD), and will be based at the Imperial College London outstation at the Research Complex at Harwell, Oxfordshire and Diamond Light Source, Oxfordshire, jointly between the labs of Dr Konstantinos Beis and Dr Armin Wagner. The Research Complex at Harwell and Diamond Light Source are both located on the Rutherford Appleton site in South Oxfordshire. This site is ideally suited for structural biology research offering a highly multidisciplinary environment for structural biology with world leading facilities including Diamond, the electron Bio-Imaging Centre (eBIC), the Membrane Protein Laboratory (MPL) and CCP4 providing exceptional opportunities for synergies and collaborations. If you enjoy working as part of a highly motivated team, this position will offer you a great opportunity to contribute to this unique project and to work at a world-class facility.

The candidate must hold a BSc at 2:1 or better and MUST hold or expect a Masters degree at Merit level or better. The candidate must meet the Research Council residency criteria. It would ideally suit an outstanding biochemistry graduate with a strong interest in structural biology. The candidate must have molecular biology, protein production and purification experience. Experience with membrane proteins will be of an advantage. Full training will be provided in all necessary areas of protein biochemistry and structural work.

To be considered for this PhD, please send a motivation letter, CV and names of two referees to Dr Armin Wagner ([Email Address Removed]) and Dr Konstantinos Beis ([Email Address Removed])

There is no closing date for applications and interviews will be conducted soon after suitable candidates have been identified.

Funding Notes

The studentship is fully-funded which include a bursary (minimum £16,777 tax free) and fees (for UK/EU candidates only).
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