Fully-funded Four-year BBSRC funded Industrial-CASE PhD studentship available

Engineering improved specificity and activity into oral bacterial sialidases for glycan biotechnology applications

A Fully-funded Four-year BBSRC funded Industrial-CASE PhD studentship is available for entry in October 2015 in an exciting collaboration between researchers at the University of Sheffield and Ludger Ltd, a world leader in glycoscience.

Recent work in Sheffield, lead by Dr Graham Stafford, has established the ability of periodontal pathogens to obtain sialic acid from human glycoproteins via sialidases (Roy et al., 2011, Microbiology, 157, 3195). These sialidases are part of a large family of enzymes that cleave alpha-linked sialic acid from glycoproteins present in a range of oral bacteria. Their use in the glycobiology industry enables analysis of biopharmaceuticals but those available currently perform poorly. The aim of this project is to use structural, biochemical and molecular approaches to engineer and improve specificity and activity of sialidases to improve our understanding of this family of enzymes in terms of their biology and enable exploitation in the bio-analysis industry.

The project will provide a broad training in molecular biology, biochemistry, enzymology and structural biology and will be hosted in state-of-the-art facilities in the Dental School and Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology in Sheffield. The student will also spend time (at least 3 months) with the indudstrial partner (Ludger) during the studentship period.

Applications are invited from highly motivated and talented students holding, or expecting to obtain, the equivalent of at least an upper second (2:1) or First Class degree in a relevant subject area. Please contact Dr Graham Stafford (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or Dr John Rafferty (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

Useful links:




The deadline for applications will be 30th Jan 2015 and interviews will be held shortly after.

Award details

Each scholarship will cover the cost of UK/EU tuition fees and provides an annual, tax-free maintenance stipend at the standard Research Council rate (£13,883 in 2015 plus a £1000 enhancement provided by Ludger). Only UK applicants are eligible for the full stipend.

How to apply

•      Applicants are advised to contact supervisors to discuss their application

· Complete an application for admission as a postgraduate student before the 30th Jan 2015 - http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/postgraduate/research/apply

· On the application form please state you are applying for this project and briefly outline your reasons for doing so.

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