About the Award
The University of Exeter’s College of Life and Environmental Sciences is inviting applications for a fully-funded 18 months MPhil Studentship to commence on 26th September 2022 or as soon as possible thereafter. For eligible students the studentship will cover Home tuition fees for 18 months full-time and in addition an annual stipend of £16,062.
Henry Wellcome Building for Biocatalysis, Biosciences, Streatham Campus, Exeter.
Professor Jennifer Littlechild, University of Exeter
Dr Misha Isupov, University of Exeter
The main objective of the project is to develop sustainable processes using enzymatic breakdown of waste feather based keratin-laden biomass using anaerobic thermophilic bacteria with known keratin degrading activity. A collection of isolated keratinase enzymes will be identified and studied both biochemically and structurally to understand their degradative properties. The student will also identify new thermophilic keratin degrading enzymes from a metagenomics database. Selected enzymes will be used in different combinations to obtain total feather degradation. This process will be monitored to identify peptides of higher value as nutraceuticals or more general use as fertilizers.
The student will gain experience in bioinformatics, molecular biology techniques including cloning and protein over-expression, protein purification and biochemical and structural characterisation.
The student will join a consortium with partners in Norway, France and South Africa as part of an ERA FOSC project.
This award provides annual funding to cover Home tuition fees and a tax-free stipend. For students who pay Home tuition fees the award will cover the tuition fees in full, plus at least £16,062 per year tax-free stipend. Students who pay international tuition fees are eligible to apply, but should note that the award will only provide payment for part of the international tuition fee (£25,000pa) and no stipend.
International applicants need to be aware that you will have to cover the cost of your student visa, healthcare surcharge and other costs of moving to the UK to do a PhD.
The conditions for eligibility of home fees status are complex and you will need to seek advice if you have moved to or from the UK (or Republic of Ireland) within the past 3 years or have applied for settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme.
Applicants for this studentship must have obtained, or be about to obtain, a UK Honours degree in Biological Chemistry or Biochemistry, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK, in an appropriate area of science or technology.
If English is not your first language you will need to meet the required level (Profile B) as per our guidance at https://www.exeter.ac.uk/pg-research/apply/english/
How to apply
In the application process you will be asked to upload the documents listed below:
• Letter of application (outlining your academic interests, prior research experience and reasons for wishing to undertake the project).
• Transcript(s) giving full details of subjects studied and grades/marks obtained (this should be an interim transcript if you are still studying)
• Names of two referees familiar with your academic work. You are not required to obtain references yourself. We will request references directly from your referees if you are shortlisted.
• If you are not a national of a majority English-speaking country you will need to submit evidence of your proficiency in English
The closing date for applications is midnight on the 29th July 2022. Interviews will be held by web based meetings early in August (to be advised).
If you have any general enquiries about the application process please contact [Email Address Removed] Project-specific queries should be directed to Prof Jennifer Littlechild at [Email Address Removed]