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Functional and durable application of membrane proteins in bionanotechnology using hybrid membranes

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  • Full or part time
    Dr Beales
    Dr Lars Jeuken
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

3rd Supervisor = Dr Stephen Muench

There is great potential to use membrane proteins in novel technologies, performing roles such as pumps, sensors, transporters or motors in areas as diverse as healthcare, environmental remediation, biosensing and energy capture and storage devices. A major challenge for bionanotechnologies is that, to be of practical use, these materials must have an appropriate longevity of functional reliability. While synthetic liposomes provide a native-like environment for reconstitution, they lack the requisite long term stability. Novel materials are required. Block copolymer membranes are more robust than their lipid counterparts, but lack the appropriate biocompatibility to be a generic solution to the problem. This project will develop the use of hybrid lipid – block copolymer membranes to combine biocompatibility with functional durability appropriate for application of membrane proteins in novel technologies.
The student will learn skills in membrane protein expression and purification, membrane protein reconstitution and functional characterization using spectroscopic assays. Advanced biophysical techniques including confocal microscopy and cryo-TEM will be applied to gain detailed insights into the behaviour and properties of these proteins in hybrid membranes. Hybrid vesicles will be developed to enhance the performance (functional activity and lifetime) of membrane proteins towards the ultimate realization of a proof of concept device.

Funding Notes

4 year BBSRC studentship, under the White Rose Mechanistic Biology DTP. The successful applicant will receive fees and stipend (c.£14,057). The PhD will start in Oct 2016. Applicants should have, or be expecting to receive, a 2.1 Hons degree in a relevant subject. EU candidates must have been resident in the UK for 3 years in order to receive full support. There are 2 stages to the application process: www.fbs.leeds.ac.uk/postgraduate/phdopportunities.php

References

Nam J., Vanderlick T.K. and Beales P.A.; Formation and dissolution of phospholipid domains with varying textures in hybrid lipo-polymersomes. Soft Matter 8, 7982-7988 (2012)

Nam J., Beales P.A. and Vanderlick T.K.; Giant Phospholipid/Block Copolymer Hybrid Vesicles: Mixing Behavior and Domain Formation. Langmuir 27 (1), 1-6 (2011)

Radu, V., Frielingsdorf, S., Evans, S.D., Lenz, O., Jeuken, L.J.C. (2014) Enhanced Oxygen-Tolerance of the Full Heterotrimeric Membrane-Bound [NiFe]-Hydrogenase of Ralstonia eutropha, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 136, 8512-8515.

Postis V, Rawson S, Mitchell JK, Lee SC, Parslow RA, Dafforn TR, Baldwin SA, Muench SP; The use of SMALPs as a novel membrane protein scaffold for structure study by negative stain electron microscopy Biochim Biophys Acta. 2015 Feb;1848(2):496-501

How good is research at University of Leeds in Chemistry?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 34.40

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