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Sulfur Metabolism and Trafficking in Green Sulfur Bacteria (HAMILTONU16SF)

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  • Full or part time
    Dr C Hamilton
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Green Sulfur Bacteria (GSB), such as Chlorobium tepidum, contribute significantly to the biogeochemical cycling of sulfur and are also a potential source of biomass for biofuels. They are anaerobic, anoxygenic phototrophs that are widely distributed in aquatic environments, where anoxic layers containing reduced sulfur compounds are exposed to light. Unlike plants, they perform anoxygenic photosynthesis by the oxidation of reduced sulfur compounds (sulfide, elemental sulfur and thiosulfate) to feed electrons into their photosynthetic electron transport chain. However little is yet know about how these sulfur nutrients and metabolites are trafficked in and out of the cells and between the dissimilatory sulfur metabolism pathways in these microorganisms.

Using C. tepidum as a model organism, this PhD project aims to unravel the biosynthesis and metabolic roles of a recently discovered GSB thiol cofactor (Chlorobithiol) in sulfur and polysulfide metabolism.

The PhD project offers extensive interdisciplinary training and research experience in analytical biochemistry, microbiology, biophysical chemistry, and enzymology. There will also be an opportunity to spend 3 months working in the laboratory of Dr Tom Hanson (Delaware Biotechnology Institute, University of Delaware, USA) as part of this international collaborative research programme.

The project is well suited for a student with a degree in the Biological Sciences or a related discipline.

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

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) “Mechanisms and evolution of oxidative sulfur metabolism in Green Sulfur Bacteria” Frontiers in Microbiology, (2011), 2, p116.

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