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.

Read more: Fully-funded Four-year BBSRC funded Industrial-CASE PhD studentship available

Rebecca Lowry's Aeromonas paper published

Congratulations to Rebecca on the publication of her paper on Aeromonas cell length determination by the cryptic AHA_0618 gene.  This paper was a labour of love for all involved and showcases a real tangible amount of sweat all around.  The gene was previously thought to be involved in glycosylation of flagellin in Aeromonas, a hypothesis that this work disproves while also indicating that it may modify cell wall composition and this influence cell length.

you can read the full paper here:


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.

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

Funding of project to explore development of antimicrobials- Press Release

4th November 2014- Please to announce official start of collaboration with Blueberry Therapeutics

Blueberry announces that it has started collaborating with The University of Sheffield (Dr Graham Stafford, Dr Simon Jones) and Sheffield Hallam University (Professor Tom Smith) to explore development of new anti-fungal drugs and treatments. This collaborative project brings together leading academics at both of Sheffield’s world-class universities with Blueberry’s drug discovery and development expertise and will explore the development of new drugs and treatments for a wide range of fungal infections.

You can read the full press release here

iGEM 2014- The FatBerglars bag GOLD.... medals

Many Congratulations to the 2014 iGEM Sheffield team who achieved the distinguished feat of attaining a gold medal at the recent iGEM Giant Jamboree in Boston, MA, last week.  The team of 8 undergraduates- pictured here (left to right: Erika, Alex, Sharan, Ben, Ben, Lara, Mustaffa; floor- Jay), presented their fantastic work on the design of a product- the Fatberglar, which encompassed an engineered biological organism designed to secrete enzymes that are able to digest Fats, Oils and Greases and hair, that contribute to the problem of Fatbergs in our urban sewer systems. 

Read more: iGEM 2014- The FatBerglars bag GOLD.... medals

EOMW meeting Denmark 2014

The group recently descended upon the beautiful coastal backwater of the Fugloscentret in Knebel, Denmark.  Chat (Pictured), Kate, Andy and Tom all presented posters while Andy (pictured speaking) and Graham gave talks.

Read more: EOMW meeting Denmark 2014