Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Doctoral Training Programme

Molecules, Cells and Organisms projects


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Please note that the list of projects available will be increased over the next few weeks so please check frequently. Project details may also be subject to change before September 2017.


BBSRC Doctoral Training Partnerships




View all Molecules, Cells and Organisms projects

Investigating pharmacological properties of novel molecules isolated from Malaysian rainforest flora

In this rotation, the student will begin to examine this hypothesis testing activity of a novel Malaysian rainforest-derived natural product. The student will subcultivate human-derived carcinoma cell lines and examine by MTT and clonogenic assays the effect of a novel compound on cell proliferation and viability.

Realtime measurement of staphylococcal quorum sensing signal biosynthesis

The student will learn a range of fundamental molecular biology and genetic engineering in both E. coli and S. aureus. This will then be followed by training to perform microbiological-based assays that measure reconstituted Nanoluciferase bioluminescence (Promega Nanobit Technology) in response to the secretion of an established modified staphylococci agrD peptide, which is a precursor of the staphylococcal autoinducing peptide (AIP).

Unravelling the mechanism of pseudomonal resistance to the peptide antibiotic argyrin

The student will be trained to perform standard antimicrobial biassay, including quantitative analysis using the professional software Prism. The assay will be performed using argyrin analogues, and against a number of standard test organisms.

The role of polyadenylation in growth factor signalling.

In this project, you will investigate if these mRNAs are indeed regulated by polyadenylation during growth factor stimulation and which RNA binding proteins mediate the poly(A) tail changes. Using bioinformatic analysis, you will identify RNA binding proteins likely to be involved in this regulation.

Discovery of GET peptides that specifically target drug therapies to children's brain tumours.

This training project will be to isolate cancer-specific peptides using the phage system. The aim/hypothesis is that this approach will enable isolation of GET-versions that in the future can be used as drug delivery vectors.

How extended ubiquitin variants meddle with the ubiquitin system – insights into healthy and unhealthy ageing

In the rotation project we will analyse the interaction of an extended ubiquitin variant with two DUBs and its ability to affect their catalytic function. We will also setup crystallisation trials of a DUB-Ubb+1 complex in order to gain insight into the molecular basis of the interaction and how it differs to wild-type substrates.

Molecular interactions within the blood coagulation cascade and innate immune proteases

In the rotation you will be trained in advanced biochemical methods for protein purification and exposed to structural and biophysical approaches for the study of protein-protein interactions and screening of ligand-protein interactions towards drug-discovery ( X-ray crystallography, protein expression, protein crystallisation).

Improving treatment of HIV/AIDS by targeting antiretroviral agents to the gut-associated lymphoid tissues

The aim of this training project is to design and start synthesising prodrugs of lopinavir with high potential for intestinal lymphatic transport. Intestinal lymphatic transport is governed by association of the molecules with chylomicrons in the enterocytes.

Epigenetic regulators and the control of gene expression

In past rotations, students have performed site-directed mutagenesis to study Nuclear receptor /cofactor interactions in yeast two-hybrid; used PCR and subcloning techniques to generate CRISPR constructs to disrupt a gene, followed by genotyping of edited cells to confirm the targeting events; or purified wild type and mutant proteins for histone acetylation assays. The student would work within the Gene Regulation & RNA Biology laboratories (25-30 full time researchers).

How do RNA processing events cooperate to make a microRNA?

The mini-project will investigate how other cotranscriptional RNA processing events, such as capping and exon junction complex deposition, influence miR-122 biogenesis. Chemical inhibitors and siRNA tranfection will be used to inhibit different cotranscriptional processes in cultured liver cells, and qPCR/northern blotting will then be used to analyse the effects on miR-122 biogenesis.

Novel quantitative surface analysis using high resolution mass spectrometry

You will grow and extract bacterial cells and perform a standard metabolite profiling using advanced mass spectrometry techniques. You will also perform data processing, data analysis and metabolite identification. You will then apply the bacterial extracts to ambient mass spectrometry and generate a chemical image to assess the uniformity of bacterial metabolites on the surface.

Molecular and in-silico interrogation of novel modes of binding at G protein-coupled receptors

The project will involve molecular modelling studies of G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) structure and flexibility. It will be based on previous published studies from the lab, but extended according to the results of more recent (unpublished) chemistry.
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Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Doctoral Training Programme

The University of Nottingham
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Nottingham, NG7 2RD

Tel: +44 (0) 115 8466946