Protein interactions are central to most processes in biology. Heparan sulfates (HS) are highly negatively charged, sulfated carbohydrates found on cell surfaces and in the extracellular matrix of animals. They interact with hundreds of proteins, hence regulate many crucial biological processes, including cell proliferation, differentiation and migration. They also act as cellular receptors for numerous microbial pathogens, including bacteria (e.g. staphylococcus aureus) and viruses (e.g. herpes simplex). As a result of these activities, HS-protein interactions are a target for therapeutics and diagnostics for cancer and inflammatory, infectious cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases. In fact, heparin, which is a subclass of the HS family, is the world’s largest selling pharmaceutical by weight, being used for over 70 years to prevent blood clotting. HS also has potential in medical device, wound healing, tissue engineering and stem cell applications.
Unfortunately, understanding of protein-HS/heparin interactions is limited, preventing full exploitation of these carbohydrates. According to the student’s interests, we will seek to study suitable interactions using a combination of approaches that may include: bioinformatics, cell culture assays, protein interaction assays (e.g. ELISAs), bioconjugation, chromatography, NMR, mass spectrometry, carbohydrate modification, small molecule synthetic chemistry and protein expression/purification.
Liverpool John Moores University has a comprehensive development program for postgraduate researchers (https://www2.ljmu.ac.uk/RGSO/training/index.htm
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Enquires are welcome from students that have/can obtain their own funding.
You must have or expect to obtain at least an upper second class (2:1) honours degree and/or a Master’s degree in Biochemistry or a related discipline. If English is not your first language and you are not an EU student, you will also need to provide evidence of competence in English language (ILETS 6.5).
For an informal discussion, please contact Dr Andrew Powell.
E-mail: [email protected]