[Neutron] PhD studentship available - University of Oxford

Sylvia McLain sylvia.mclain at bioch.ox.ac.uk
Mon Mar 5 12:56:25 CET 2012

A PhD studentship is available in the Department of Biochemistry 
University of Oxford under the supervision of Dr. Sylvia McLain.

The focus of this work is to observe the atomic and molecular 
interactions between molecules which comprise cell membranes. Life has 
evolved from single-celled organisms to more complex multi-cellular 
organisms partially because of the compartmentalization of cell 
membranes. One of the greatest challenges in biophysics is to understand 
how membranes are formed and function; as they are not only everywhere 
but are also necessary to sustain life. Cell membranes control what can 
go into and out of the cell, the so-called 'molecular traffic' acting as 
gate-keepers. This role is important in controlling disease, disease and 
nutritional balance in different parts of the human body. Our research 
proposes to look at the interactions between the molecules which make up 
biological membranes on the atomic scale, where one can see how 
individual atoms in different molecules interact with one another. This 
is important because it reveals the details of interactions and can 
inform us about how these interactions take place.

The techniques which will be used to see the atomic structure of 
membranes are neutron scattering techniques using the UK ISIS neutron 
facilities which are located at Rutherford Appleton Laboratories in 
Oxfordshire (UK) and managed by the UK government funded Science and 
Technology Facilities Council (STFC). Measurements of these molecules 
using neutrons show the details of interactions between the different 
atoms present. Another technique which will be used is Nuclear Magnetic 
Resonance (NMR) which allows for different atomic aspects of the 
membrane to be seen. Combing this with computer models, we will be able 
to build a structure of the membrane which is atomically accurate.

Details for formal applications are found here: 
please quote Studentship Reference Code: EPSRC for a DPhil in 
Biochemistry (Course code 003180)

Informal enquires with CV are welcome and should be addressed to Dr. 
Sylvia Mclain (sylvia.mclain at bioch.ox.ac.uk)

Dr. Sylvia McLain
Department of Biochemistry
University of Oxford
South Parks Road
Oxford, UK

Tel: +44 (0)1865 613 279
email:sylvia.mclain at bioch.ox.ac.uk

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