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Understanding the mechanism of membrane insertion and inhibition of channels and pore forming proteins

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Tuesday, April 30, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Supervisor/s Dr Jose Ortega-Roldan/Dr Katia Consentino

Proteins of the CLIC family and MLKL have the striking feature of being able to insert in and permeabilise the plasma membrane through the formation of channels or pores, respectively. These proteins are important targets in the treatment of different types of cancer, heart stroke, inflammation and viral replication, and new drugs targeting them are currently in clinical studies. However, little is known about their activation mechanism, the membrane insertion process, the structural details of the membrane bound forms and their inhibition.
The goal of this project is to study the membrane insertion and inhibition mechanisms of CLIC1, CLIC4 and MLKL. We aim to use an integrative structural biology approach, combining solution NMR, solid state NMR, X-Ray Crystallography, Neutron Reflectivity, and fluorescence microscopy (both at the cellular and single molecule level) to fully understand the membrane insertion of these proteins with different levels of spatial and temporal resolution. These will allow us to understand the function and inhibition of the different forms of these proteins.

This is funded by the Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA), which provides financial support in return for 96 hours of teaching per year. For further information on the Graduate Teaching Assistantship scheme go to:

The candidate: We are looking for a highly motivated student with a minimum of 2:1 degree in biological or chemical biology related subjects, such as biology, biochemistry, chemistry, biomedical science and microbiology subjects, with interest in structural and cell biology.

How to apply: Applications can be made using the online University application page: where the project title should be entered as the proposed area of research and Dr Jose Ortega-Roldan as supervisor. Please include a CV and cover letter. Applications must be received by 30th April 2019.

Funding Notes

Funding notes
£15,009 (2019/20 rate) plus Home/EU fees. Further scholarship details can be found at View Website
Scholarships will be offered at the standard UK Research Councils’ rate. UK, EU and overseas fee paying students are invited to apply. International applicants should make provision to meet the difference between Home /EU and International fees. Please note that overseas students must have the appropriate documentation to evidence eligibility to work in the UK.

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

FTE Category A staff submitted: 24.20

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

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