Characterising and optimising protein targeting in cyanobacteria for optimal production of biofue...

University of East Anglia
October 05 2017
Life Sciences, Biology
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

Cyanobacteria are environmentally important organisms and potential biotechnology platforms, due to their ability to convert solar energy and carbon dioxide into biomass. They are complex prokaryotes, containing a cell wall consisting of the plasma and outer membranes, and a series of internal thylakoid membranes. Understanding how proteins are targeted to different membranes will facilitate development of industrial stains for production of chemicals, electricity and biofuels. The student will join a laboratory investigating cyanobacterial photosynthesis, biochemistry and cell biology and the manipulation of strains for commercial applications. Examples of recent publications from the investigator include: Lea-Smith et al (2016) Plant Phys. 172(3):1928-1940; Ermakova et al (2016) Plant Phys. 171(2):1307-19; Lea-Smith et al (2015) PNAS 112(44):13591-6; Lea-Smith et al (2014) Plant Phys. 165(2):705-714; Lea-Smith et al (2013) Plant Phys. 15(32):13611-8; McCormick et al (2013) Energy & Env. Science 6(9):2682-2690. The successful candidate will use a combination of molecular biology, microbiology and microscopy to identify targeting sequences in cyanobacteria and the role these play in directing proteins to different membranes within the cell. Proteins that improve growth and facilitate export of industrial compounds or electricity will be targeted to appropriate membranes using the identified targeting sequences. Suitable strains will then be grown in large-scale photobioreactors to determine their suitability for commercial applications. The student will have the opportunity to develop a wide range of skills in microbial genetics, biochemistry and industrial biotechnology and interact with researchers in the Norwich Research Park, QMUL and the University of Cambridge.

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

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

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:

This job comes from a partnership with Science Magazine and Euraxess

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