PhD Studentship: Engineering Neofunctionalization in a Model Triterpene Synthase

University of East Anglia - School of Chemistry

Start Date:  1st October 2017

No. of positions available: 1

Supervisor: Dr Andrew Hemmings

Project description:

Enzyme engineering plays a major role in the UK bioeconomy as a route to the discovery of novel compounds and the production of high-value chemicals. The global market for industrial enzymes is predicted to reach $7bn by 2018.

Plant-derived natural products form a large set of compounds frequently found to have pharmaceutical, agricultural and industrial biotechnology applications yet their commercial exploitation is often limited by their synthetic intractability. In a collaboration between the groups of Dr. Andrew Hemmings (University of East Anglia) and Professor Anne Osbourn (John Innes Centre) a major project is underway to develop engineered natural product biosynthetic enzymes capable of producing novel, exploitable compounds

A PhD research studentship has become available to carry out exciting research aimed at reengineering a critical triterpene biosynthetic enzyme. The successful candidate will play a central role in attempts to engineer the catalytic properties of this target. To achieve this they will receive training in cutting edge methods of protein engineering, molecular and structural biology, analytical biochemistry and computational modelling. The research will make extensive use of local facilities at UEA including the Centre for Structural and Molecular Biochemistry (CMSB) and at the John Innes Centre.

Person specification: Suitably qualified individuals will have a strong interest in protein chemistry and/or bioanalytical science and will hold, or expect to hold, a first or good upper second class honours undergraduate degree (or equivalent) from any of a range of disciplines including, but not restricted to biochemistry, biological chemistry and biological sciences.

Funding notes: Full Studentships cover a stipend (RCUK rate: £14,296pa – 2016/7), research costs and tuition fees at UK/EU rate, and are available to UK and EU students who meet the UK residency requirements.

Students from EU countries who do not meet the UK residency requirements may be eligible for a fees-only award. Students in receipt of a fees-only award will be eligible for a maintenance stipend awarded by the NRPDTP Bioscience Doctoral Scholarships, which when combined will equal a full studentship. To be eligible students must meet the EU residency requirements.

Details on eligibility for funding on the BBSRC website: 

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South East England