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Structural biology of viral replication complexes

   Department of Biosciences

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  Dr Liz Morris  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

We are seeking a highly motivated and enthusiastic individual with an interest in the structural biology of how viruses replicate. Recent epidemics and pandemics demonstrate a gap in our understanding of viral infections. This project aims to assemble complexes of viral proteins and nucleic acid components for study by structural methods, such as X-ray crystallography or electron microscopy, and complementary biochemical and biophysical experiments.

The viral genome (viral DNA or RNA) encodes proteins that viruses use to infect and replicate in a cell. Viral proteins assemble into complexes within the infected cell to support viral replication. In this project, viral proteins will be generated using recombinant methods (e.g. expression in E. coli) and assembled into complexes +/- nucleic acid for structural, biophysical and biochemical studies. The aim is to understand the protein-protein and protein-nucleic acid interactions and the various catalytic processes important for viral replication. Protein complexes of interest are those from RNA viruses (such as flaviviruses or coronaviruses).

This PhD will be conducted under the supervision of Dr Liz Morris, a newly appointed Assistant Professor of Biochemistry in the Department of Biosciences at Durham University.

The candidate will get training in cloning, recombinant protein expression, protein purification, crystallization, X-ray crystallography, and in using biochemical and biophysical methods to study protein-protein/protein-nucleic acid interactions and enzyme catalysis.

An interest in structural biology is essential, but experience in structural biology is not a pre-requisite. Wet lab experience in molecular biology or protein biochemistry/biophysics/crystallization is an advantage.

To be eligible for this award you must have or be expected to obtain a first or upper second class BSc (or equivalent) or a Masters degree in Biochemistry, Chemistry, Biophysics or a related area.

This studentship will start in October 2022 and will be funded for 4 years. Funding will cover tuition fees at the UK rate only, and stipend (£15,609 per annum).

If you are interested in applying, please send your CV and cover letter detailing your relevant experience and scientific interests to Dr Liz Morris ([Email Address Removed]).

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