PhD Studentship - Chlorobithiol: The Missing Link in Sulphur Metabolism amongst Green Sulphur Bacteria? (HAMILTON_U18DTP)

University of East Anglia - Pharmacy

Location: Norwich

Start Date: 1st October 2018

No. of positions available: 1

Supervisor: Dr Christopher Hamilton

Project description: Green Sulphur Bacteria (GSB), such as Chlorobium tepidum, contribute significantly to the biogeochemical cycling of sulphur and are also a potential source of biomass for biofuels. They are anaerobic, anoxygenic phototrophs that are widely distributed in aquatic environments, where anoxic layers containing reduced sulphur compounds are exposed to light. Unlike plants, they perform anoxygenic photosynthesis by the oxidation of reduced sulphur compounds (sulphide, elemental sulphur and thiosulphate) to feed electrons into their photosynthetic electron transport chain. However little is yet know about how these sulphur nutrients and metabolites are trafficked in and out of the cells and between the dissimilatory sulphur metabolism pathways in these microorganisms.

Using C. tepidum as a model organism, this PhD project aims to unravel the biosynthesis and metabolic roles of a recently discovered GSB thiol cofactor (Chlorobithiol) in suphur and polysulphide metabolism.

The project offers extensive interdisciplinary training and research experience in analytical biochemistry, microbiology, biophysical chemistry, and enzymology. There will also be an opportunity to spend 3 months working in the laboratory of Dr Tom Hanson (Delaware Biotechnology Institute, University of Delaware, USA) as part of this international collaborative research program.

The project is well suited for a student with a degree in the Biological Sciences or a related discipline.

This project has been shortlisted for funding by the Norwich Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (NRPDTP). Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed as part of the studentship competition. Candidates will be interviewed on either the 9th, 10th or 11th January 2018.

The Norwich Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (NRPDTP) offers postgraduates the opportunity to undertake a 4 year research project whilst enhancing professional development and research skills through a comprehensive training programme. You will join a vibrant community of world-leading researchers. All NRPDTP students undertake a three month professional internship (PIPS) during their study. The internship offers exciting and invaluable work experience designed to enhance professional development. Full support and advice will be provided by our Professional Internship team.

For further information and to apply, please visit our website:

Person specification: Students with, or expecting to attain, at least an upper second class honours degree, or equivalent, are invited to apply.

Funding notes: Full Studentships cover a stipend (RCUK rate: £14,553pa – 2017/8), 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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