PhD Studentship: Microdroplets, Mass Spectrometry and Algae

A four-year BBSRC-funded studentship is available to start in October 2015 as part of a multidisciplinary, multicentre project “Algal oils by design”, which aims to establish microalgae as an industrial biotechnology platform for the production of high value lipids, such as omega-3 fatty acids. The PhD project involves developing a mass spectrometric interface to screen microdroplets containing algae with different lipid profiles. It will be jointly supervised by Professor Chris Abell (Chemistry) and Professor Johnathan Napier (Rothamsted Research).

Professor Abell heads a group developing microdroplets as a novel screening platform (for a review see Angew. Chemie Intl. Ed. 2010, 49, 2-25). They have recently shown how mass spectrometry can be used to detect proteins in microdroplets (Anal. Chem. 2013, 85, 3812-3816). The present project will build on this success. Professor Napier’s group (see focuses on establishing the pathways of fatty acid biosynthesis in plants and algae and metabolic engineering to increase production of the desired compounds.

Applicants should have obtained (or expect to obtain) an honours degree (at least equivalent to a UK II.1) and preferably a Masters degree in a relevant discipline. The multi-disciplinary nature of the project means that we welcome applications from physical scientists who are interested in using their skills to address biological questions. There will be the opportunity to spend time in the laboratory of at least one other member of the consortium. Additionally, an exciting element of the programme is a three month internship to gain experience in a non-academic background, such as industry, the media, charities, education and government.

The studentship provides a maintenance grant (at the Research Council UK rate) and tuition fees at the Home/EU rate, and is available to UK and EU students who meet the Research Councils’ UK residency requirements. Students from EU countries who do not meet the UK residency requirements may still be eligible for a fees-only award. Owing to funding restrictions imposed by the sponsor, non-EU citizens cannot be considered.

Applications should include a cover letter, CV, detailed academic transcripts and the contact details for at least two academic referees, and should be sent by email to Mrs Catherine Atkins ([email protected]).

Please quote reference MA04797 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.


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