PhD Studentship: An integrated study of protein structure-function-dynamics with applications to human health and the environment

University of Essex - School of Biological Sciences

Dr. R.W. Strange, School of Biological Sciences, University of Essex; Dr. C. Yong & Dr. T. Keal, STFC Daresbury Laboratory, Cheshire UK; Dr. C Verma, Bioinformatics Institute, A*STAR, Singapore.

An opportunity exists for an outstanding graduate to play a central role in a state of the art project in

experimental structural biology and computational biology. The successful candidate for this fully funded 4-year PhD studentship will be based at the School of Biological Sciences, University of Essex and have access to the Hartree Centre, STFC Daresbury, the UK’s premiere high performance computing environment. The candidate will also spend two years working in the Bioinformatics Institute A*STAR, located in the vibrant, multicultural city of Singapore.

You will participate in an interdisciplinary research programme in one of our project areas, investigating detailed structure-function studies of metalloenzymes using a combination of solution x-ray scattering, protein crystallography, and molecular dynamics simulations. These studies will reveal structural and dynamic information to understand both protein function and catalytic processes and to locate cryptic ligand-binding pockets for future peptide design and fragment-based drug discovery approaches. The project offers excellent training in synchrotron-based X-ray methods and in advanced computer-simulation methods with application to biological problems. Our current project areas are in proteins involved in neurodegenerative diseases and proteins important for control of the global nitrogen cycle.

We are seeking a highly motivated, independent and creative individual with excellent communication skills, who is fully committed to working in Singapore as well as in the UK. Applications are invited from Home/EU fee status students who hold or expect to obtain, a First or Upper Second class honours degree or equivalent in the Physical, Chemical, Biological or Computational Sciences.

For recent examples of published work relevant to the proposal, see 1.Nature Communications 4,

1758 (2013) doi:10.1038/ncomms2750; 2. IUCrJ 3, 271-281 (2016); 3. Proteins 82, 3194-3209 (2014) doi: 10.1002/prot.24688, 3. J Chem Theory Comput 11, 3199−3210 (2015) doi: 10.1021/ct5010577; 4. Curr Med Chem 20, 569-575 (2013).

Entry requirements and application procedures

Applications should be submitted electronically by 15 November 2016 see here for details

Additional questions and queries about the studentship can be addressed to Dr. R.W. Strange (

For general information about the School of Biological Sciences at the University please visit our webpages

The University of Essex

In the recent Research Excellence Framework 77% of research at the University of Essex research is 'world leading' or 'internationally excellent' (REF 2014).We offer world-class supervision and training opportunities and our research students work at the heart of an internationally-acknowledged and well-connected research community. In the 2013 Postgraduate Research Experience Survey, 84% of respondents said that they were satisfied with the quality of their research degree. At Essex we win awards for our pioneering student support schemes. We are the most recent winners of the prestigious Times Higher Education award for Outstanding Support for Students. Essex is a genuine global community. With more than 130 countries represented within our student body, and 40% of our students from overseas, we are one of the most internationally diverse universities in the UK.

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