Targeted protein degradation gene therapies for neurodegenerative disease


   School of Life Sciences

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  Dr Gareth Wright  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Proteins fold like origami into complex three-dimensional shapes. This process can malfunction and result in misfolded proteins that stick together to form large aggregates. Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and the motor neuron disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis are accompanied by the presence of these protein plaques, tangles, fibrils and other amorphous aggregates within or around neuronal tissues. These diseases affect over 65 million people worldwide and are currently incurable.

This project aims to create new gene therapies to prevent or cure AD, PD and ALS. Working at the University of Essex, you will design, create and test a series of biological proteolysis targeting chimeras (BioPROTACs) that interact with and destroy neurotoxic proteins. An interest in protein interfaces, molecular recognition, neurodegenerative disease and protein degradation is important. Performing research at the intersection of cell biology, molecular biology and structural biology you will become an intuitive multidisciplinary researcher. You will gain experience in the techniques used in modern therapy discovery including microscopy, cell culture, in silico cloning, crystallography, protein production, computational modelling and gene therapy vector construction.

Enthusiastic scientists who have or expect to gain a Masters degree or first/high 2-1 BSc in bioscience subjects are encouraged to apply. Experience of laboratory research in cell, molecular or structural biology would be an advantage but is not essential. Motivation, dedication and inquisitiveness are prerequisites.

Contact project supervisor Dr Gareth Wright () to find out about the project and for informal discussions.

To submit an application follow the link to the University of Essex application portal https://www.essex.ac.uk/postgraduate-research-degrees/applying-to-essex. Please upload a copy of the above project outline as your research proposal. Once you have completed the online application, please email Emma Revill

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