PhD Studentship: Proteins in Action: Real Time Study of Protein Function

University of East Anglia - School of Chemistry

Start Date:  1st October 2017

No. of positions available: 1

Supervisor: Prof. Steve Meech

Project description:

This project combines advanced chemical biology with advanced laser spectroscopy to yield entirely new insights into how proteins work. It is equally suitable for students with either a background in biology with interests in measurement and instrumentation or students with a physics background interested in tackling problems in life science.

In essence you will study photoactive proteins which control processes such as phototropism and circadian rhythms. The function of such proteins can be initiated with a short pulse of light. By using combinations of pulses from ultrafast lasers you will record the structure of the protein as it evolves in real time. This occurs over a very broad time range from femtoseconds (a million billionth of a second) to minutes. The measurements will be achieved using ultrafast laser experiments already developed at the University of East Anglia and at the Central Laser Facility at the Harwell Research Complex, Oxford. Students should be willing to spend weeks at a time at the central facility.

Further insight into the mechanism of LOV domain function will be achieved by placing marker modes site specifically within the protein. This will be achieved using methods of unnatural amino acid substitution. The resulting proteins will allow us to plot the time evolution of the structure change in real time, providing unprecedented insight into protein function.

This is a highly interdisciplinary program, but full training will be given in all the instrumental and chemical biology skills required. For further information contact Steve Meech (

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: 

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