Proteins in Action: Real Time Observation of Protein Function (MEECH_U18DTP)

University of East Anglia
October 05 2017
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

This project combines advanced chemical biology with advanced ultrafast laser spectroscopy to yield new insights into how proteins work. It is equally suitable for students with either a background in biology/chemical 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 (

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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