PhD studentship in marine bioinformatics/molecular biology at Newcastle University, UK 

A competitive PhD studentship in marine bioinformatics/molecular biology
is available at Newcastle University, UK rated
as one of the top 150 universities in the world. This 3-year fellowship
provides a full tuition fee waiver, a competitive living stipend, and
a considerable research allowance.

Title: Revealing Adaptive Divergence of Aquatic Rubiscos (RADAR)

Abstract: Photosynthesis is the most important biological process on a
planetary scale, and most of the known life depends on it. Photosynthesis
harvests energy from the sun to combine carbon dioxide and water, and
provide oxygen and the building blocks of life. Surprisingly for such
an important process, photosynthesis is not very efficient. Less than 5%
of energy from the sun is transformed into chemical energy of sugars by a
typical crop plant like wheat or potato. Imagine how crop yields could be
improved and how much land could be saved for wildlife if we would find
a way to increase efficiency of photosynthesis! The good news is there
are several potential ways to address this problem. Photosynthesis is a
complex, multi-step process which gives rise to multiple opportunities
to address the efficiency of the process. It is possible that multiple
solutions could be combined in a single crop to produce more food
and/or biofuel using less land and water. One of the bottle-necks in
photosynthesis is the performance of an enzyme called Rubisco which
is responsible for the fixation of carbon dioxide into sugars. Almost
all organic carbon on Earth is fixed by Rubisco. Bacteria, algae and
plants have different forms of Rubisco, and the most efficient ones
are found in marine organisms. Rubiscos from plants represent ‘the
tip of an iceberg’ yet they attracted most of the research effort. We
propose to look at ‘the understudied submerged part of an iceberg’,
Rubiscos from aquatic archaea, bacteria and algae, which are both the
most abundant and structurally diverse. Aims: find and characterize new
forms of Rubiscos and their chaperones from the aquatic environments for
fundamental research and applications in synthetic biology. Methods:
1. Bioinformatics’ tools will be used for bioprospecting of in-house
obtained eDNA samples and publicly available NGS data collected from
the aquatic environments. 2. Codon-optimized genes encoding Rubisco and
its chaperones will be expressed in a range of hosts. 3. New forms of
Rubisco and its chaperones will be characterised using biochemical and
structural analysis.

This project is funded and open for citizens of UK and EU only.

The position will start in 2018 as soon as the suitable candidate will
be found.

For further information if you are interested in applying, contact Dr
Maxim Kapralov
by email

In your email include your CV with contact information for two references
including your most recent/current supervisor.

via Luiz de Camões