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White Rose BBSRC DTP studentship: A multi-technique approach to investigate the role of lipids in the structure and function of membrane proteins


   Faculty of Biological Sciences


Leeds United Kingdom Biochemistry Biophysics

About the Project

Membrane proteins are essential for cellular life accounting for a significant number of therapeutic targets. Despite this, our structural understanding of membrane proteins still lacks behind their soluble counterparts. Moreover, our understanding of the local lipid environment which is important for structure and function is poorly understood. This project will build on our previous work to develop new technologies and approaches to study membrane proteins and better understand the role of the lipid environment.

Through a combination of molecular biology, structural mass spectrometry and electron microscopy this project will use membrane vesicles to probe the role of lipids on structure and function of two distinct system. The first will be the Bacteriorhodopsin system to study lipid binding using modified amphipol polymers and SMA, extracting the target protein with the local lipids. The second focus will be on the medically important BAX system which forms membrane pores during apoptosis. This project will combine MS and EM analysis to study pore formation in a time-resolved manner and open up further opportunities in the field. The project will be in a highly collaborative environment with full training and provide the candidate with a highly complementary set of skills in molecular and structural biology.

Funding Note

This studentship is part of the BBSRC White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership in Mechanistic Biology. (https://www.whiterose-mechanisticbiology-dtp.ac.uk/). Appointed candidates will be fully-funded for 4 years. The funding includes:

Tax-free annual UKRI stipend (£15,609 for 2021/22 starts. Awards increase every year, typically with inflation).

UK tuition fees (Around £4,500 per year)

Research Training and Support Grant (RTSG)

Conference and Professional Internships for PhD Students (PIPS) allowances

We aim to support the most outstanding applicants from inside and outside the UK. We are able to offer a limited number of bursaries that will enable full studentships to be awarded to international applicants. These full studentships will only be awarded to exceptional quality candidates, due to the competitive nature of this scheme.

Not all projects will be funded; the DTP will appoint a limited number of candidates via a competitive process.

How to apply

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 project please ensure you provide the following information on your application form;

  • Select PhD in Biological Sciences as your programme of study
  • Give the full project title and name the supervisors listed in this advert
  • For source of funding please state you are applying for a White Rose BBSRC DTP funded studentship

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