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Molecular Dimensions announces studentship position together with The University of Oxford.
Title: New Approaches to Membrane Protein Structural Biology using Micro-focus X-ray beams & X-ray Free Electron Laser based Serial Femtosecond Crystallography.

Location: DPhil in Biochemistry University of Oxford in association with Molecular Dimensions Ltd.

Description of Opportunity: We have an exciting opportunity for a graduate scientist to undertake research leading to the award of a DPhil (PhD equivalent) degree under the joint supervision of Prof. Elspeth Garman, Dr Simon Newstead (University of Oxford, UK) and Mr. Tony Savill (Molecular Dimensions Ltd. Newmarket UK). The student will be enrolled in the Department of Biochemistry at the Oxford University and hosted at Molecular Dimensions Ltd. The project (NanoMem) is part of the Marie Curie Initial Training Network funded by the European Commission and is a close collaboration between ten different laboratories in Europe from both Universities and Industries.

The aim is to develop crystal growth and handling methodology for micro- and nano- crystals to address challenging diffraction studies from small membrane protein crystals for both micro-focus X-ray beams and the revolutionary new possibilities created by the X-ray Free Electron lasers. NanoMem will exploit the new scientific opportunities created by these technical capabilities through close collaboration between structural biologists, beamline engineers, software developers and industrial partners.

NanoMem is an interdisciplinary training network incorporating membrane protein crystallisation, microcrystal and nanocrystal preparation and handling technologies, microfocus diffraction, software development, structure based drug design and serial femtosecond crystallography. The student is expected to contribute to the overall objectives of the Marie Curie Initial Training Network NanoMem through networking, secondments and joint experiments with the other partners involved. Considerable opportunities for secondment travel will extend throughout the studentship to learn from the other members of the consortium.

The successful candidate will be trained in state of the art methods in crystallography and membrane protein structural biology. During the project the student will focus on new technology for sample preparation and handling in order to develop methods to allow the application of XFEL radiation to the study of membrane protein structure. Components of the project will include but are not limited to research into:

•    Methods to monitor and control crystallization chemistry to identify micro and nano crystalline growth conditions.

•    Obtain optimally diffracting crystals of prokaryote and eukaryote membrane proteins with improved diffraction and longevity in the X-ray beam and nano-crystals.

•    Understanding the parameters that affect the lifetime during data collection and processing from XFEL data.

•    Utilise this information to develop and commercialise novel crystal growth screens, additive screens and optimization methodologies for crystal nucleation.
The student will have the opportunity to:

•    Develop ideas to functional use within Molecular Dimensions and within the NanoMem network.

•    Communicate results both within the NanoMem Collaboration and externally at meetings and through publications.

•    Work collaboratively with other experts within the NanoMem network

Minimum qualifications:

•    A First Class Honors Degree (or equivalent) in Biochemistry or a related subject

Preferred requirements:

•    A keen interest in the commercialisation of research results

•    A broad interest in technology

•    Strong written and oral communication skills

•    Motivation to work in a multidisciplinary and international environment is fundamental to this position

The EC funding for this position starts from £42,500p.a., (depending on employer deductions, personal circumstances and the exchange rate to be notified by the EC), which includes an annual living allowance and a mobility allowance (to cover the expenses associated with working in a different country). Additionally the EC funding will cover the university and college fees at the home/EU rate.

Eligibility: Marie Curie grants are designed to promote mobility of young scientists. Applicants therefore CANNOT have lived in the UK more than 12 months for the last three years.

 To apply, please submit an online application to the University of Oxford
( for admission to the D.Phil. in Biochemistry (course code 001380).
It is very important that you quote Studentship Source Code Nano1. No research proposal is required as part of the application.
Instead you are required to upload a personal statement of no more than 1000 words, describing your motivation and aptitude for this position, and your CV.
Please arrange that two, or preferably three, referees directly submit references for you.

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