Projects

Recruitment to the NRPDTP and iCASE programmes are now open. The deadline for applications is the 27th November 2017.

02 / 10 / 2017

Proteins in Action: Real Time Observation of Protein Function (MEECH_U18DTP)

how to apply

This project combines advanced chemical biology with advanced ultrafast laser spectroscopy to yield new insights into how proteins work. It is equally suitable for students with either a background in biology/chemical biology with interests in measurement and instrumentation or students with a physics background interested in tackling problems in life science.

In essence you will study photoactive proteins which control processes such as phototropism and circadian rhythms. The function of such proteins can be initiated with a short pulse of light. By using combinations of pulses from ultrafast lasers you will record the structure of the protein as it evolves in real time. This occurs over a very broad time range from femtoseconds (a million billionth of a second) to minutes. The measurements will be achieved using ultrafast laser experiments already developed at the University of East Anglia and at the Central Laser Facility at the Harwell Research Complex, Oxford. Students should be willing to spend weeks at a time at the central facility.

Further insight into the mechanism of LOV domain function will be achieved by placing marker modes site specifically within the protein. This will be achieved using methods of unnatural amino acid substitution. The resulting proteins will allow us to plot the time evolution of the structure change in real time, providing unprecedented insight into protein function.

This is a highly interdisciplinary program, but full training will be given in all the instrumental and chemical biology skills required. For further information contact Steve Meech (s.meech@uea.ac.uk).