The BAM in bugs - understanding bacteria using a chemical biology toolbox. (SEARCEY_U17DTP)

University of East Anglia - School of Pharmacy

Start Date:  1st October 2017

No. of positions available: 1

Supervisor: Prof. Mark Searcey 

Project description: Antimicrobial resistance remains a frightening prospect. It has been suggested that, should we fail to find new ways to kill bacteria, we will return to the days when a routine operation could prove fatal. We need to understand how bacteria function. This research project is an exciting approach to the study of the fundamental biology of Gram negative bacteria using a combination of synthetic chemistry, structural biology and microbiology. These bacteria have to display proteins (called outer membrane proteins) on their surface and to do this they use a molecular machine known as the BAM complex. Research from Professor Chiangjang Dong at UEA has led the world in understanding the BAM complex through the use of crystallography. In collaboration with Professor Mark Searcey, we will now design and synthesise peptides and small molecules that will allow us to manipulate this complex and to understand how it functions and how it could potentially become a target for the design of new antimicrobial agents. The project will require skills in synthetic organic chemistry, peptide and small molecule synthesis and an interest in developing skills in crystallography and microbiology.

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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South East England