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Understanding cellular organisation via computational analysis of protein structure, function and evolution.

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  • Full or part time
    Dr P J Winn
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

A passion for science? Interested in how life emerges from lifeless molecules? Interested in how cells organise themselves? The underlying question of this project is, how is life organised? The focus of the project is the interactions made by proteins, including the effects of drugs interacting with proteins, as well as protein-protein, protein-membrane, and protein-DNA interactions. The student should be interested in at least two of the following perspectives: evolutionary, structural, chemical, physical, mathematical. How do the physical and chemical processes important for biological organization influence protein evolution?

The questions presented here are philosophically interesting. More importantly, answers to them will accelerate the fields of drug discovery, bio-technology and nano-technology. The project aims to understand better the general principles of organisation, and apply them to specific biological systems. The work involves simulations and statistical analysis of protein sequence and structure to understand their evolutionary past, and the physics behind their function. Systems currently of particular interest are polyketide synthases, responsible for the synthesis of many antibiotics as well as other therapeutic compounds.

The University of Birmingham has been independently assessed as one of the best graduate research programs in Biosciences in Europe, for further details see: For more information about the University of Birmingham and Birmingham city please see and
For more information about the research group please see, or contact Peter Winn at +44 (0)121 41 48852, [email protected] Interested candidates should send a CV to the same address.
Candidates should have a good degree in biophysics, molecular biosciences, bioinformatics, mathematics, computing or physics.


To find out more about studying for a PhD at the University of Birmingham, including full details of the research undertaken in each school, the funding opportunities for each subject, and guidance on making your application, you can now order your copy of the new Doctoral Research Prospectus, at:

Please find additional funding text below. For further funding details, please see the ‘Funding’ section.
The School of Biosciences offers a number of UK Research Council (e.g. BBSRC, NERC) PhD studentships each year. Fully funded research council studentships are normally only available to UK nationals (or EU nationals resident in the UK) but part-funded studentships may be available to EU applicants resident outside of the UK. The deadline for applications for research council studentships is 31 January each year.

Each year we also have a number of fully funded Darwin Trust Scholarships. These are provided by the Darwin Trust of Edinburgh and are for non-UK students wishing to undertake a PhD in the general area of Molecular Microbiology. The deadline for this scheme is also 31 January each year.

Funding Notes

All applicants should indicate in their applications how they intend to fund their studies. We have a thriving community of international PhD students and encourage applications at any time from students able to find their own funding or who wish to apply for their own funding (e.g. Commonwealth Scholarship, Islamic Development Bank).

The postgraduate funding database provides further information on funding opportunities available and further information is also available on the School of Biosciences website

How good is research at University of Birmingham in Biological Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 42.80

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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