three-year PhD programme - University of Leicester

The Departments of Biochemistry and Chemistry at the University of Leicester, UK, and the
Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL, Grenoble, France), jointly invite applications for a three-year PhD
programme focusing on
Electron transfer is of fundamental importance in biology and the way in which it is controlled is an
area of considerable international activity. The importance of large-scale protein dynamics in
regulating biological electron transfer is beginning to be recognised but the detailed structural
description of these dynamic processes remains a challenge. This project will address this challenge
in cytochrome P450 reductase, an enzyme which plays a key role in drug metabolism in man, by
relating structurally-defined domain motion to individual steps in the catalytic cycle of the enzyme. In
the cell the enzyme is membrane-bound, and a second key part of the work will be to obtain a
structural model of the complex of the enzyme with cytochrome P450 in a membrane environment.
The results of this work will go far beyond the information currently available on this important system
and will greatly add to our understanding of its physiological behaviour.
The PhD project will be located jointly in Grenoble (France), at the ILL, and at the University of
Leicester. The range of skills learned will span from small angle neutron scattering and neutron
reflectometry (physical chemistry; ILL) through protein purification and molecular biology (ILL and
Leicester) to optical and EPR spectroscopy (Leicester) and kinetic analyses (Leicester). At Leicester,
the successful student will join a thriving multidisciplinary environment based in the new Henry
Wellcome Building for Biomedical Science and the Department of Chemistry, and will be exposed to a
range of methodologies at the chemistry/biology interface. The Henry Wellcome building is equipped
with state-of-the-art equipment and laboratories, including instrumentation for protein expression and
purification, protein crystallography, biological spectroscopy and mechanistic work.
The successful candidate will be employed for a period of up to three years, with a gross salary of
around 2350 €/month, together with other benefits depending on the student’s social status (for more
details see: The project would suit a graduate in chemistry or biochemistry who is confident with physical
chemistry (or even physics) and with an interest in molecular mechanisms in biology. A team of
experts, including Professors Emma Raven, Gordon Roberts, & Peter Moody and Drs. Anne Martel &
Giovanna Fragnato, will supervise the work of the PhD student.
Applicants should have or expect to obtain a first class or upper second class degree in Biochemistry,
Chemistry or a related discipline such as Physics. Academic knowledge of condensed matter physics
will be appreciated but is not essential.
Supervisors: Professors Emma Raven & Gordon Roberts, University of Leicester, and Drs. Anne
Martel & Giovanna Fragneto, ILL (Grenoble).
Contact information: Students can contact Professor Raven ([email protected]), Professor
Roberts ([email protected]), or Dr. Martel ([email protected]) for informal discussion. Interviews for the post
will take place at ILL.
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