PhD Studentship 2014 Oxidation- and UVR-sensitive Proteins and their Role in Skin Ageing

Institute of Inflammation and Repair

Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences

Dr Michael Sherratt & Dr Neil Gibbs

The Institute of Inflammation and Repair invites applications for a 4-year Alliance Boots funded PhD due to commence October 2014. The studentship covers UK/EU tuition fees, research expenses and provides an annual tax-free stipend at RCUK rates (currently £13,726 p.a). The studentship is open to UK/EU nationals only due to the nature of the award.

We have previously demonstrated that dermal extracellular matrix components are differentially susceptible to ultraviolet (UV) radiation and that this damage is mediated in part by the action of reactive oxygen species (ROS). It is likely that the selective degradation of proteins which are rich in UV-absorbing and oxidation-sensitive amino acid residues may also play a role in ageing. This PhD project will use bioinformatic analysis, in combination with established biochemical methods, to test the hypothesis that amino acid composition, in conjunction with protein structure, can be used to identify novel protein biomarkers of ageing in cutaneous and internal tissues.

In collaboration with colleagues at Cardiff University, bioinformatic analyses of protein composition and structure across multiple proteomes will be used to identify candidate protein biomarkers of ageing. This will be complimented by multi-photonic excitation imaging of skin to localise such proteins in human skin. The potential susceptibility of candidate proteins to UVR/ROS will be confirmed using commercial protein sources and where necessary recombinant peptides.

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In parallel, and as alternative to identifying key target proteins, the effects of external stressors such as UVR on the susceptibility of the whole proteome to UVR and ROS will characterised by microarray and proteomics/bioinformatic approaches.

The PhD will be conducted across the Institute of Inflammation and Repair, University of Manchester, and Institute of Cancer and Genetics, Cardiff University. It will prepare the successful candidate for onward career progression into postdoctoral research within academia or industry and/or scientific writing. 

Candidates are expected to hold a minimum upper-second (or equivalent) undergraduate degree in a relevant biological/medical science area such as biochemistry or bioinformatics. Previous experience of bioinformatics programming (R; Perl; PHP, MySQL) and protein biochemistry determination would be an advantage as would a relevant Masters qualification.

Please use the ‘Apply’ button below to direct applications in the following format to Dr Michael Sherratt (                 

  • Academic CV
  • Official academic transcripts
  • Contact details for two suitable referees
  • A personal statement (750 words maximum) outlining your suitability for the study, what you hope to achieve from the PhD and your research experience to date.

Any enquiries relating to the project and/or suitability should be directed to Dr Sherratt at the address above. Deadline for applications: Monday 20 January 2014.

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