This is a fully-funded 4-year PhD studentship in the area of structural molecular and synthetic biology; the studentship starts 1st October 2016.
We are studing the structure, function and assembly of bacterial microcompartments. These remarkable protein assemblies comprise thousands of subunits which form a pseudo-icosahedral protein shell encapsulating a number of enzymes forming a metabolic pathway. We are working to understand how the protein subunits tessellate, bend and assemble, how the enzymes interact with these shell proteins, how transport across the shell is controlled, and the advantages of compartmentalization of enzymes. As well as protecting intermediates from off-pathway interactions, compartmentalizaiton likely affords kinetic and thermodynamic advantages to pathways, but these advantages have yet to be quantified and exploited.
We discovered that when a single microcompartment protein is overexpressed it forms nano-tubes 20 nm in diameter, up to 1 µm in length. We are exploring the structure of these nano-tubes and using them as scaffolds for building super-molemolecular assemblies for a range of synthetic biology applications.
Our approach will be multidisciplinary using techniques in molecular biology, biochemistry, chemistry, biophysics, crystallography, spectroscopy and computing.
We are working in collaboration with colleagues at the Universities of Kent and Bristol in a BBSRC-funded strategic LOLA programme. The applicant will therefore have the twin advantages of being part of the BBSRC LIDo and the BBSRC sLOLA group.
ELIGIBILITY AND APPLICATION
This four-year iCASE studentship is funded jointly by the BBSRC London Interdisciplinary PhD Programme and Prozomix Ltd. It covers UK/EU tuition fees and an annual tax-free stipend of ca. £16,057.
Applications will be considered from individuals with a background in life science (chemistry, biology, biochemistry, biophysics) or physical science (mathematics, physics, computer science), though the equivalent of a first or upper second-class degree is essential. A postgraduate degree in a relevant subject would be desirable but is not essential, as would basic molecular biology skills, experience of computer programming and an interest in synthetic biology.
For more information regarding the project, please contact Prof Richard Pickersgill - [email protected]
For more information about the programme, eligibility or the application process please contact the programme administrator - [email protected]