BBSRC MRes/PhD Studentship Bacterial Immunity and Multi-Drug Resistance

Reference Code: CB102


Name of the Supervisors
Professor N Zenkin, Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences   
Professor J Errington, Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences 

This studentship is sponsored by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) as part of the Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP).

Duration of the Award
Four years (MRes Biosciences followed by a three-year PhD).

Project Description
Bacteria invented several mechanisms to fight against their enemies –bacteriophages and antibiotics. One of these mechanisms involves bacterial toxin/antitoxin modules that can bring bacterial cells to dormant state and thus make them temporarily resistant to the bacteriophages or antibiotics. The number of newly discovered toxins grows, but the mechanisms by which they force cells into dormancy are not well understood for many of them.

Recently an immune system of bacteria (CAS/CRISPR system) was discovered. Bacteria store information about bacteriophages that have attacked them in the past, and use this information to kill bacteriophages if they enter the cell again. The system is unrelated to the known immune systems, and the mechanisms involved in acquisition of the immunity memory are not known.

By using cutting-edge biochemistry and microbiology techniques we are planning to investigate the molecular mechanism of the immunity memory acquisition and functions of uncharacterised toxin/antitoxin modules. The proposed work will bring insights into mechanisms of bacterial tolerance to antibiotics and bacteriophages and survival of pathogenic and useful (food, biomolecules and biofuel producing) bacteria.

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The work involves a uniquely wide range of biochemical, molecular biological and microbiological techniques of investigation of molecular processes in the cell. The laboratory is based in the Centre for Bacterial Cell Biology, which brings together leading scientists in the field of biology of bacterial cell. The Centre is situated in the new building fitted with the state of the art equipment, and provides unique scientific environment.

Value of the Award and Eligibility
Depending on how you meet the BBSRC’s eligibility criteria, you may be entitled to a full or a partial award. A full award covers tuition fees at the UK/EU rate and an annual stipend of £13,726 (2013/14). A partial award covers fees at the UK/EU rate only.

Person Specification
Candidates should have or expect to achieve a first-class or upper-second-class Honours degree in a relevant science subject. Previous laboratory experience is essential.

How to Apply
You must complete the University’s postgraduate application form selecting ‘Master of Research/Doctor of Philosophy (Medical Sciences) – Cell and Molecular Biosciences’ as the programme of study. Once you have selected the programme, please insert the studentship/partnership reference number CB102. Only mandatory fields need to be completed (no personal statement required) but you must attach a copy of your CV and a covering letter, quoting the title of the studentship and reference number CB102.

Closing Date for Applications
The post will remain open until a suitable applicant is appointed. Early application is advised.

Further Information
For further details, please contact: 
Professor N Zenkin
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 3227

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For more information and to submit an application, please use the ‘Apply’ button below.

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