Diamond Light Source is the UK’s national synchrotron science facility. By accelerating electrons to near light-speed, Diamond generates brilliant beams of light from infra-red to X-rays which are used for academic and industry research and development across a range of scientific disciplines including structural biology, physics, chemistry, materials science, engineering, earth and environmental sciences.
Protein translocation across membranes is a vital cellular process; however, the exact mechanism by which this occurs is not well understood. In the eukaryotic organelles, mitochondria and chloroplasts, which perform metabolic processes essential to viability, growth, development and adaptation, the vast majority of proteins are nuclear-encoded and synthesised as preproteins on cytosolic ribosomes. The preproteins are then recognised by sophisticated molecular machineries to facilitate their import into the organelle. In chloroplasts, protein import is accomplished by translocases of the chloroplasts' outer and inner membranes, termed TOC and TIC, respectively. These translocases are multimeric protein complexes and present in all plants, and some of the main components are also well-conserved in apicomplexan parasites, for example, Plasmodium falciparum which causes malaria. The key players involved in preprotein recognition and import of the chloroplast TOC-TIC system have recently been described; however, the composition of the TIC complex is largely still under debate. Moreover, the structural organisation of the TOC-TIC complexes remains elusive. A complete understanding of how these complexes assemble and function will then enable us to modify plants to increase crop yields to meet the growing population's needs, which is set to reach 9 billion by 2050.
This project aims to decipher the mechanisms of protein transport by the TOC-TIC system at a molecular level directly from native membranes. This project is very timely with the recent developments made in native mass spectrometry and cryo-tomography techniques, where samples are analysed directly from the native lipid environment without chemical disruptions.
Attributes of suitable applicants:
This project would suit a candidate with a background in biochemistry, and an aptitude for learning structural biology.
Oxford BBSRC Bioscience DTP and Diamond Light Source Studentship Programme
This project is funded for four years by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council UKRI-BBSRC and Diamond Light Source Ltd. UKRI-BBSRC eligibility criteria apply (https://www.ukri.org/files/funding/ukri-training-grant-terms-and-conditions-guidance-pdf/). Successful students will receive a stipend of no less than the standard UKRI stipend rate, which will be £20,198 for the academic year 2023/24.
Overseas applicants, please note: The funding will only cover the fees at home rate.
This project is supported through the Oxford Interdisciplinary Bioscience Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) studentship programme. The student recruited to this project will join a cohort of students enrolled in the DTP’s interdisciplinary training programme, and will participate in the training and networking opportunities available through the DTP. For further details, please visit www.biodtp.ox.ac.uk. The DTP and its associated partner organisations aim to create a community that is innovative, inclusive and collaborative, in which everyone feels valued, respected, and supported, and we encourage applications from a diverse range of qualified applicants.
Diamond Light Source Ltd holds an Athena SWAN Bronze Award, demonstrating their commitment to provide equal opportunities and to advance the representation of women in STEM/M subjects: science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine.
Diamond jointly funds around 15-20 studentships every year with a variety of collaborators from both academic institutions to industry partners. Students accepted onto these projects will be part of our yearly cohort intake and are supported by both their academic and Diamond supervisors, as well as a dedicated Student Engagement team based at Diamond.
Diamond studentships are typically 50% funded by Diamond and 50% by the partnering university institution (or 25% funded by Diamond if there is a third party collaborator). Students are therefore required to spend 50% of their studentship at Diamond, with most students relocating to the local area for this period. Support on suggested accomodation options are provided by Diamond.
Benefits of Diamond's jointly funded studentships
If you have further questions please contact the Student Engagement team on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Further guidance for students can be found here as well as more information about life at Diamond found here.
Applications for this project are closed.
Diamond Light Source is the UK's national synchrotron science facility, located at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire.
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