Fully Funded PhD Research Studentship Multi-scale Parallel Computer Modelling of Mycolic Acids from:

Faculty of Engineering

Division of Process and Environmental Engineering

(3 years)

Do you have a desire to make a difference?  Tuberculosis claims over 17,000 lives per day, and with the rise of multi-drug resistant strains of M. Tb., along with challenges in diagnosis, particularly in HIV co-infected patients, Tuberculosis represents a major health threat for developed and developing nations alike.  One reason why TB is so hard to treat, is that it has a layer of molecules on the outside, called mycolic acids, that make it hard for any substances to get into the bacteria, including TB drugs.  By looking at how mycolic acids fold and developing a good theoretical model that agrees well with experimental data, this project will directly contribute to new approaches for drug-development and disease detection.

Applications are invited for a fully funded PhD studentship to join the growing Biomechanism Engineering research team based in the Research Division of Process and Environmental Engineering (Faculty of Engineering) at the University of Nottingham, a global top 75 University. The student will work in a dynamic research environment and as part of an interdisciplinary team of researchers working towards a more complete understanding and utilisation of biochemical processes for a range of applications. The research will involve interaction with computational scientists from IBM’s World Community Grid project (www.worldcommunitygrid.org), as well as other leading research groups in the areas of computational modelling and TB biochemistry.

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The student will design and undertake molecular dynamics experiments to probe the structural flexibility and properties of a range of mycolic acids, both individually and within membrane systems, assist in the development of statistical models for the interpretation of the large datasets that will arise from this modelling, and present the research locally and at international conferences. Training in experiments, theory and research methodology will be provided.

Requirements of the studentship:

i)     Students should have, or expect to obtain, a first-class or good 2:1 honours degree, or a distinction or high merit at MSc level (or international equivalent), in chemistry, biochemistry, computational chemistry, chemical engineering, biochemical engineering or closely related disciplines such as computer science, physics or mathematics, with relevant background.

ii)    Students should be able to demonstrate an interest in biochemical mechanisms and computational modelling, and should have excellent written and oral presentation skills. Previous experience with statistical analysis, molecular dynamics and/or software tools such as Gromacs would be beneficial.


The studentship will cover full PhD tuition fees and a tax free stipend for three years (£13,590 for the 2012-13 academic year), restricted to UK/EU students.  The studentship is expected to start in September 2013, or as early as possible after this date.

Informal enquiries prior to making an application may be addressed to Dr Anna Croft, email: [email protected].

To make an application, please send a covering letter stating clearly how you fulfil the requirements of the studentship, your research interests and include a CV, an academic transcript, and the names and addresses of two academic referees, to [email protected], via the ‘Apply’ button below.

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Please quote ref. ENG/680. The position will remain open until filled.

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