Fully funded PhD project Available for Application- Deadline 15th Jan 2015

Investigation of the sialic acid uptake and harvesting system of a key periodontal pathogen

Several human pathogens and commensals living in the human gut and mouth utilise host-derived sugars that are present as glyco-conjugates on surface proteins of human cells. Pathogenic and other human-dwelling bacteria access these glycoprotein attached sugars via the action of dedicated glycosidases, glycan modifying enzymes and transport systems. Recent work in Sheffield has identified a novel sialic acid transport and harvesting system that is key to the ability of the important periodontal pathogen T. forsythia to harvest sialic acid from the human body and thus contributes to their virulence but which is present in several gut-dwelling anaerobes of the phylum Bacteroidetes (see references via this link).

The project will utilise a number of molecular, biochemical and structural techniques aimed at understanding the mechanism of the sialic acid transport and harvesting systems to aid development of novel therapies. You will join the research team of Dr Graham Stafford who are based in the Integrated BioSciences group in the School of Clinical Dentistry at the University of Sheffield. You will also work in collaboration with colleagues in the Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology in the group of Prof Dave Kelly.

The studentship is fully funded at the UK-EU level and is available to take up immediately.

Entry Requirements

Candidates must have or expect to gain a relevant first or upper second class honors degree, Masters level degree or significant research experience.

For more information please contact Dr Graham Stafford (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or visit the group website (http://stafford.group.shef.ac.uk/).

Please apply via the Sheffield online Postgraduate recruitment system by15th Jan 2015.

You can find the application form here: http://www.shef.ac.uk/postgraduate/research/apply

Please clearly state the prospective main supervisor as Dr Graham Stafford in the respective box and select (Clinical Dentistry) as the department.