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The role of the Exocyst complex in trafficking ion channels in polarised epithelia


About This PhD Project

Project Description

Associate Professor Kirk L. Hamilton and Associate Professor Fiona J. McDonald
Proper trafficking of ion channels in epithelia is key to epithelial cell function. The Exocyst is a series of proteins that act as a complex and aids in tethering post-Golgi secretory vesicles for delivery of ion channels to the plasma membrane. The role of the Exocyst complex in trafficking ion channels is still emerging. In this project, we will investigate the role of the Exocyst complex in the targeting of two epithelial ion channels to the appropriate membrane (KCa3.1 and ENaC). This will be approached using a range of protein biochemistry, molecular biology, electrophysiological and imaging techniques. The implication of these results is to define novel trafficking partners of K+ and Na+ channels that may be used therapeutically in diseases.

Applications to undertake a PhD in Physiology are welcome at any time. Candidates can be of any nationality and must have attained an excellent degree (MSc with significant research component or a 4 years of Bachelors with Honours degree) in biomedical science or a closely-related subject.

1. Applicants are encouraged to first contact the supervisor(s) by email with the following details:
o Your name and country of citizenship
o Your CV
o Certified academic transcript (and, if applicable, an explanation of the content)
o Certified evidence of English language proficiency (eg IELTS or TOEFL results)
o The names of two referees
2. If your application is to be considered, the supervisor will contact you to discuss the next steps, and our Departmental Administrator will check that your documents are complete.
3. Funding: The PhD project will be funded by the University of Otago doctoral scholarship (tuition fees and a tax-free personal allowance of NZD$27,000 pa for 36 month). Successful candidates are expected to apply and be awarded a scholarship.

For further information on research in the Department see our research section at https://www.otago.ac.nz/physiology/research/index.html

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