PhD Studentship: Structure, dynamics, and molecular recognition of carbohydrates and their mimics studied by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy

Deadline: 30 April 2014.

Start Date: October 2014.

Supervisory Team: Dr Jesus Angulo, Email:

The Project:

Carbohydrates are integral parts of biology as proteins, nucleic acids, and lipids. They uniquely have an enormous capacity of carrying information based on the diversity of possible structures (sugar configurations and linkages), which contrasts with that of other biomolecules. The vast amount of information on that “sugar code” gives carbohydrates a very diverse set of physiological roles (cell-cell communication, adhesion, cellular signalling …). Carbohydrate Binding Proteins (CBPs) are responsible for the transduction of that information to trigger biological responses. As a result, the knowledge on the molecular recognition of carbohydrates by proteins constitutes a firm ground for the development of future biomedical strategies, to understand and to intervene in biological processes. In this project, the successful candidate will use NMR spectroscopy and computational techniques to get 3D structural information at atomic detail of the binding interactions of a series of carbohydrates and mimics with their corresponding CBPs within a high relevant biological context. Conformational analysis and studies on the molecular dynamics will be carried out in both the free and the bound states of the carbohydrate ligands. In this project, the student will also be expected to deal with living cells in those cases in which the CBP is a membrane receptor, making use of the latest developments in ligand-based NMR techniques for “in-cell” experiments.

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They will work in well-equipped laboratories, with access to state of the art High Performance Computing Cluster (302 node cluster providing a total of 4148 cores) and powerful NMR equipment (800 MHz, 2x 500 MHz, 2x 400 MHz, and 300 MHz spectrometers, equipped with different liquid-, solid-state, and HR-MAS probeheads), in a highly stimulating scientific environment that includes collaboration with internationally distinguished scientists at UEA and the Norwich Research Park (NRP).

Entry Requirements:

First degree (2.1) in Chemistry, Physics, Pharmacy or Biological Sciences.


This three year funded studentship is funded by the University and due to funding restrictions is open to UK/EU candidates.

An annual stipend of £13,726 is available to the successful candidate.

Making Your Application:

Please apply via the University’s online application system, via the ‘Apply’ button below.

NB Applications are processed as soon as they are received, so early application is encouraged.

To discuss the application process or particular projects, please contact the: Admissions Office, email: or telephone +44 (0)1603 591709. 

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