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The role of protein turnover in bacterial life and death

Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology

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Prof S J Foster Applications accepted all year round Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

The control of protein levels in bacterial cells is essential for their growth and survival. This is an interplay between protein synthesis and turnover. We have found that turnover of those enzymes needed for breaking down the cell wall is a key control mechanism to prevent bacterial suicide. The project will investigate the turnover of proteins in the cell during growth and the action of antibiotics. Our target organism will be Staphylococcus aureus known more commonly as its antibiotic resistant derivative, MRSA. The work will involve state-of-the-art protein labelling experiments coupled with mass spectrometry and data analysis to determine the protein turnover. We will then investigate how this is controlled by different proteases and finally demonstrate the effect of antibiotics in protein half-life. The work will link together the fundamental mechanisms that control bacterial growth with elucidation of why some antibiotics kill cells and other do not. This has great potential for the development of novel control regimes to target antibiotic resistant bacteria such as MRSA.

Science Graduate School:
As a PhD student in one of the science departments at the University of Sheffield, you’ll be part of the Science Graduate School – a community of postgraduate researchers working across biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics and psychology. You’ll get access to training opportunities designed to support your career development by helping you gain professional skills that are essential in all areas of science. You’ll be able to learn how to recognise good research and research behaviour, improve your communication abilities and experience technologies that are used in academia, industry and many related careers. Visit to learn more.

Funding Notes

Entry requirements:

First class or upper second 2(i) in a relevant subject. To formally apply for a PhD position, you must complete the University's application form using the following link:

*All applicants should ensure that both references are uploaded onto their application as a decision will be unable to be made without this information*.

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