Research Associate

Job Description

The laboratory of Professor Neil Hunter FRS in the School of Biosciences seeks a Research Associate to work on a collaborative project funded by an ERC Synergy award to Professors Dario Leister (Munich), Josef Komenda (Trebon, Czech Republic) and Neil Hunter. The aims of the Sheffield part of the Synergy project are to: (1) implement the latest methods for the de novo design of synthetic protein assemblies for artificial photosynthesis; (2) redesign the pigment and cofactor binding sites of naturally evolved photosynthetic reaction centre and light-harvesting complexes from purple phototrophic bacteria and cyanobacteria; (3) find ways to express the new photosystem genes in a variety of bacterial hosts; (4) optimise production of the redesigned complexes; (5) purify a wide range of carotenoid and chlorophyll pigments, and learn how to reconstitute them into designed and native apoproteins; (6) characterise the structural and functional properties of designed and native complexes using a variety of biophysical and spectroscopic methods.

We are seeking candidates with a PhD and postdoctoral experience (or equivalent experience), with a background in de novo protein design, and the flexibility to work on the biochemistry and spectroscopy of photosynthetic membrane proteins. You should be able to participate in the genetic manipulation, redesign and purification of membrane protein complexes, as well as having some familiarity with methods for determining structures of complexes by cryo-electron microscopy. You should also be willing to apply kinetic and spectroscopic methods to characterise the functional properties of photosynthetic complexes. The postholder will be based in the collaborative, multidisciplinary molecular photosynthesis research group in the School of Biosciences, where they will have access to the world-class facilities available at the University of Sheffield. The postholder will also make collaborative visits to Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich and Centre Algatech, Trebon, Czech Republic, as part of the Synergy research programme.

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