Ferritins as bioreactors for synthetic biology applications (LEBRUN_U17DTP1)

University of East Anglia - School of Chemistry

Start Date:  1st October 2017

No. of positions available: 

Supervisor: Prof. Nick Le Brun

Project description: 
The cellular iron storage protein ferritin is composed of 24 subunits arranged in a highly symmetric fashion to form an approximately spherical protein shell surrounding a hollow centre in which large amounts of iron can be stored as a ferric-oxy-hydroxide mineral.  The ferritin protein shell can potentially accommodate a range of other molecules, and the aim of this studentship is to use synthetic biology approaches to develop bacterial and plant ferritins as microaerobic nano-compartment/bioreactors, through the encapsulation of proteins and peptides for biotechnological applications.  Methodologies for peptide and protein encapsulation will be developed, with eventual targets including technologically relevant enzymes such as FeFe hydrogenase, which catalyses the reduction of protons to H2.  This reaction/enzyme is of great current interest because of its potential for large scale generation of clean energy.  This multi-disciplinary project will be based in the Le Brun lab at UEA and the Balk lab at John Innes Centre and will involve protein biochemistry, spectroscopy and kinetics, offering excellent training potential for the appointed student.

Person specification:  Minimum entry 2:1

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: www.bbsrc.ac.uk/web/FILES/Guidelines/studentship_eligibility.pdf

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