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PhD Studentship in Biosciences (PhD Studentship)

Reference Number: R2216
Closing Date: Closed for applications
Duration: 3.5 Years
Funding Amount: Full UK/EU fees, plus stipend
Level of Study: Postgraduate Research
Regions: EU (Non UK), UK
This funding opportunity is now closed for application

Applications are invited for a prestigious (+3.5) full-time PhD studentship, to be based in Cardiff School of Biosciences.

Project title: New synthetic biology routes for protein interfacing through high precision non-natural post-translational modification

Programmable and directed assembly of proteins through predefined residue interactions with useful adjunct materials (both bio and non-bio based) is currently of great interest. The benefits of such an approach are control over the protein-material interface so optimising coupling and communication between the two. Potential applications range from biosensor construction to molecular electronics to scaffold organised enzyme assembly lines. The key to directed assembly is defining the interfacing chemistry and its position within the protein.

Your role will be to achieve this by engineering proteins using emerging synthetic biology approaches so as to introduce useful chemistry not normally present in nature through the genetic incorporation of non-natural amino acids (nAAs). Using codon reprogramming, defined and precise incorporation of useful non-native chemical handles into proteins at optimal residues for material interfacing will be achieved through new orthogonal post-translational modification routes. Of great interest is the directed assembly of protein on carbon allotrope materials (CAMs) such as graphene. Their remarkable electronic properties make CAMs excellent sensing base materials; precision functionalisation with proteins instils molecular recognition and bioactivity that can be optimally coupled to, thus influence, the CAM to potentially single protein molecule resolution.

The studentship is ideally suited to students interested in undertaking research that lies at the boundaries of biology, chemistry, physics and materials science. Students graduating with a degree in Biomolecular sciences (e.g. Biochemistry) or Chemistry (with a strong interest in Chemical Biology) are strongly encouraged to apply but others with a suitable background and interest will be considered. You will sample wide range of techniques ranging from biochemistry to protein engineering to conjugation to single molecule microscopy.

Supervisors: Dr D. Dafydd Jones, Dr Martin Elliot and Dr Emyr Macdonald

Start date: 1st October 2014

Number of Studentships: 1


The studentship consists of full UK/EU tuition fees, as well as a Doctoral Stipend matching UK Research Council National Minimum (£13,863 p.a. for 2014/15, updated each year).


Residency: Full awards (fees plus maintenance stipend) are open to UK Nationals and EU students who can satisfy UK residency requirements. To be eligible for the full award, EU Nationals must have been in the UK for at least 3 years prior to the start of the course for which they are seeking funding, including for the purposes of full-time education. EU Nationals who do not meet the above residency requirement are eligible for a fees only award, provided that they have been ordinarily resident in the EU for at least 3 years prior to the start of their proposed programme of study.

Academic criteria: Applicants for a studentship must have obtained, or be about to obtain, a 2.1 degree or higher in a relevant science based subject.

How to Apply

Consideration is automatic on applying for, with a start date of 1st October 2014 via Cardiff University's Online Application Service. In the research proposal section of your application, please specify the project title and supervisors of this project and copy the project description in the text box provided. In the funding section, please select "I will be applying for a scholarship / grant" and specify that you are applying for advertised funding.

The deadline for all applications is 31st July 2014.

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