We are currently advertising National Productivity Investment Fund Industrial CASE studentships with a deadline of the 16th July 2018.

02 / 10 / 2017

Stopping Bacteria Producing Greenhouse Gas (GATES_U18DTP)

how to apply

As well as carbon dioxide (CO2), there are numerous other greenhouse gases implicated in global warming. In particular, nitrous oxide (N2O), is a greenhouse gas which has 300-times greater global warming potential than CO2 and it also contributes to the destruction of the ozone layer. Production of N2O is a by-product of modern farming, where after applying fertilizers, soil-based bacteria consume nitrate and generate N2O. By understanding how the bacteria do this, we could potentially reduce future N2O emissions from biological sources, allowing recovery of the ozone layer and help reduce global climate change.

This PhD project will involve developing an understanding of how DNA and RNA structures control nitrogen assimilation and N2O production in bacteria. The project will provide training in a wide range of biophysical, molecular biology and microbiological techniques, from characterizing the types of DNA/RNA structures, gene expression studies to ligand binding assays. Led by Dr Andrew Gates and Dr Zoë Waller, this project will be based in the School of Biological Sciences, but the student will also work with the School of Pharmacy and facilities across the Norwich Research Park.

The student will have, or expect to obtain a first class, 2(i) or equivalent honours degree in Microbiology, Biochemistry, Chemistry, Pharmacy or a related area.

Informal enquiries are welcomed; for further information please contact Dr Andrew Gates ( or Dr Zoë Waller (

Further reading:

1) Luque-Almagro, V. M. et al. (2013) J. Biol. Chem. 288, 29692.

2) Sullivan, M. J. et al. (2013) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 110, 19926.

3) Bochman, M.L. et al. (2012) Nat. Rev. Genet. 13, 770.

4) Waller Z.A.E. et al. (2016) Chem. Commun. 52, 13511.