We are currently advertising DTP and CASE studentships for October 2019 start. The deadline for applications is the 26th November 2018.

27 / 09 / 2018

Dissecting the natural products chemistry of Prymnesium - a blooming toxic algae (FIELD_J19DTP)

how to apply

The waterways of the Norfolk Broads suffer from seasonal issues of harmful algal blooms that can result in massive fish deaths. This is a result of natural product toxins produced by the algae in question, Prymnesium parvum. The repertoire of natural products made by these algae, many of which have yet to be characterised, is dependent on a variety of environmental factors, and unique metabolites are produced by strains of the organism isolated from different locations.

The aims of this project are to understand which natural products Prymnesium produces and how they are made. This will require a combination of contemporary approaches to natural products chemistry and biology, with a focus on dissecting the molecular basis of natural product biosynthesis in a class of organisms that has been little studied to date. This project forms part of a joint effort from the teams of Rob Field (JIC Biological Chemistry; algal chemical biology), Jonathan Todd (UEA Biological Sciences; biochemistry and microbial metabolism) and Andy Truman (JIC Molecular Microbiology; natural products chemical biology) - the student will work across the 3 teams.

The project would suit an ambitious student with a strong background in chemistry, biochemistry or microbiology, who is keen to engage in a multidisciplinary project at the chemistry-biology interface. No prior experience in working with algae or natural products is required; full training will be provided in relevant areas of biosynthesis, HPLC, NMR, mass spectrometry, algal cell culture and bioinformatics, recombinant protein production, enzyme assays, depending on the skills and interests of the student.

Informal enquiries may be directed to,,