Natural blues: structure meets function in plant natural products (MARTIN_J18DTP)

John Innes Centre
October 05 2017
Life Sciences, Biology
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

Anthocyanins are water-soluble plant natural pigments producing the familiar colours of many fruits and flowers. They have enormous potential as natural food colourants from orange through red and purple to blue.

The butterfly pea (Clitoria ternatea) makes intensely blue-coloured flowers pigmented by highly decorated delphinium-based anthocyanins. Petals of this plant are used to make blue tea, popular in Asian countries, and anthocyanins from flowers, as a traditional food, represent a new source of blue natural colours. Anthocyanins of butterfly pea have remarkable stability in solution even at room temperature However, the anthocyanins in extracts represent a range of intermediates with different chemical decorations and different functionalities in terms of their colour, shade and stability in different environmental conditions.

This project would suit a student with interests in natural product chemistry and will involve a multidisciplinary collaboration between Cathie Martin at JIC and Zoe Waller and Jesus Angulo in the School of Pharmacy at UEA. The project will involve purifying the different anthocyanins from butterfly pea flowers, characterizing their functional properties and relating these to their structures to be defined by state-of-the-art natural product analyses; high resolution NMR spectroscopy, molecular dynamics simulations and circular dichroism

UEA and NRP provide courses to train students in new techniques, data handling, computational methods as well as transferable skills in paper and grant writing and presentation skills. The DTP studentship includes a 3-month secondment to work in an area unrelated to the PhD to develop additional transferable skills for broader experience for career development.

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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