Novel lipid environments for use in lipid cubic phase (in meso) crystallization of integral membrane enzymes, transporters and receptors (ESR6)

Applications are invited for an Early Stage Researcher (ESR)/PhD studentship position funded by The Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) Innovative Training Networks (ITN) programme titled Rationalising Membrane Protein Crystallisation (RAMP). The ESR will be based in Prof. Martin Caffrey’s Membrane Structural and Functional Biology (MS&FB) group at the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland.

The ESR will work on the mechanism of membrane protein crystallisation by the lipid cubic phase (in meso) method (Acta Cryst. D71:3Nature 49:521Science 351:876) toward the development of a rational approach for crystallogenesis. The specific objectives of the project include evaluating the effectiveness of novel lipids and lipid combinations in crystallising different target membrane proteins, mapping temperature/composition phase diagrams for these lipids, and establishing their compatibility with components of precipitant solutions, additive lipids and detergents and the nature of the final mesophase type in which crystals grow. Phase and crystal characterization will make use of small- and wide-angle scattering and macromolecular crystallography at synchrotrons and free-electron laser X-ray sources. Membrane proteins targetted include enzymes, transporters, channels, receptors and complexes. Appropriate training will be provided as needed. The MS&FB group employs the latest methodologies, instrumentation and materials for membrane molecular and structural biology research, some of which was developed in-house (Nature Protocols 4:706;  Acta Cryst. D72:93).

The ESR project is one of 12 in the RAMP training network. It will involve secondments to other network partners with specialised biochemical, biophysical, crystallisation and crystallography expertise.

Applicants should have a high-level honours (2.1 or above) Bachelor’s and/or a Master’s degree or its equivalent in Biological Sciences, Biochemistry, Biophysics, Biotechnology, Chemistry, Microbiology, Molecular Biology, or a related discipline and a keen interest in the relationship between structure and function. Experience with protein crystallisation, membrane proteins and/or synthetic organic chemistry is desirable but not essential.

Candidates must comply with EU eligibility criteria. Accordingly, you are eligible for an ESR position at Trinity College Dublin if you have not studied or worked in Ireland for more than 12 of the last 36 months

Author: Richard Sear

Computational physicist at the University of Surrey. My research interests are in crystallisation, soft matter & biological physics