[Australia] A PhD position is available to work on an Australian Research Council (ARC) funded project investigating the protein machinery responsible for light harvesting. In 2010, our collaborators discovered that quantum mechanical processes were involved in algal light harvesting (Collini et al., Nature 2010
By combining structural and molecular biology with modern multidimensional laser spectroscopy, we are in the process of determining the role of quantum effects in light harvesting. In particular, we are exploring whether there are any significant biological outcomes that depend on underlying quantum effects. This is part of a new discipline “quantum biology”.
In this project, the candidate will determine the crystal structures of light harvesting proteins. They will investigate the expression of different light harvesting complexes in algae and their dependence on environmental conditions. Specifically, we aim to determine the relationship between environmental conditions and the expression of light harvesting proteins that support genuine quantum phenomena.
The result of such a study may reveal the biological importance of such phenomena. The candidate will develop expertise in protein chemistry, biophysics, structural biology and molecular biology. They will work as part of a collaborative multidisciplinary team including quantum scientists and molecular spectroscopists.
We seek a highly motivated candidate with a Class I Honours degree (or equivalent) in modern biological, medical, physical or chemical sciences. Given the multidisciplinary nature of the project, there will be a significant training component that will depend on the candidate’s background. The project will be funded for three years. Candidates are expected to apply for an Australian Postgraduate Award (APA)/ University Postgraduate Award (UPA) or International Postgraduate Research Scholarship (IPRS) (or equivalent) and a supplement is available for successful candidates.