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Understanding protein autoactivation in molecular detail

   Faculty of Biological Sciences

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  Dr M E Webb, Dr Ryan Seipke  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Many proteins undergo spontaneous post-translational modification to split the peptide backbone and to generate cofactors required for enzyme action. Often these modifications are overlooked or attributed to the action of additional proteins. In this project, you will use state-of-the-art approaches to understand the fundamental chemistry underpinning such chemical reactions so that we can start to predict and rationalise why such reactions are possible and favoured. What amino-acid residues are required for reaction? How does this chemistry relate to more familiar enzymes such as proteases? What are the implications of this chemistry for cell physiology? Work in this project will initially focus on the PanDZ system from E. coli, which supplies the limiting metabolite for coenzyme A production, beta-alanine. You will combine our existing structural knowledge with the characterisation of site-specifically modified proteins to generate a deep understanding of exactly how these proteins catalyse cofactor formation. The project would suit either a chemistry or biochemistry graduate and may involve chemical protein modification, structural biology and biophysical characterization in addition to molecular biology and protein production.


You should hold a first degree equivalent to at least a UK upper-second class honours degree or a MSc degree in a relevant subject.

Applicants whose first language is not English must provide evidence that their English language is sufficient to meet the specific demands of their study. The Faculty of Biological Sciences minimum requirements in IELTS and TOEFL tests are:

  • British Council IELTS - score of 6.0 overall, with no element less than 5.5
  • TOEFL iBT - overall score of 87 with the listening and reading element no less than 20, writing element no less than 21 and the speaking element no less than 22.

How to apply:

To apply for this project applicants should complete an online application form and attach the following documentation to support their application. 

  • a full academic CV
  • degree certificate and transcripts of marks
  • Evidence that you meet the University's minimum English language requirements (if applicable).

To help us identify that you are applying for this studentship please ensure you provide the following information on your application form;

  • Select PhD in Biological Sciences as your programme of study
  • When asked for source of funding please make it clear that you are applying for a "White Rose BBSRC DTP Studentship"
  • Give the full project title and name the supervisors listed in this advert. You can be considered for up to 3 projects in total.

If you have any further queries regarding this opportunity, please contact [Email Address Removed]

Funding Notes

This opportunity is funded by the White Rose BBSRC DTP and will attract an annual tax-free stipend of £17,668 (based on the 2022/23 rate). The award will also cover academic fees. This opportunity is available to UK and International fee rated applicants. Please note that any expenses related to the relocation of international students to the UK (visa, insurance, NHS fees, flights, etc) would be their responsibility and are not covered by this award.

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