PhD Student – Engineering Enzymes to Enhance Diagnostic Devices for Improved Antibiotic Stewardship

University of Sheffield

Nucleases are employed in many clinical diagnostics and molecular biological procedures. This project focuses on characterisation and development of nucleases (engineered exonucleases or EEs) for improved diagnostics for eventual use in point of care testing devices. The student will express, purify and characterise a bank of EEs and evaluate their performance in the Atlas Genetics Ltd system.

He/she will carry out a systematic assay development aimed at improving signal-to-noise ratios, stability, detection limits and specificity. We have a realtime FRET-based solution phase assay that will be used to produce quantitative biophysical data in addition to the Atlas assay. We will also attempt crystallisation and structure determination of the EEs with bound DNA substrates to further inform the protein engineering process and provide new data on these biologically and commercially important enzymes. Full training in all aspects will be given to highly motivated, molecular scientist with a good first degree in any relevant area. The project will include a placement at Atlas Genetics, Trowbridge.

Funding Details

The award will include a tax-free stipend at standard Research Council rate (roughly £14,553); research costs; and tuition fees at the UK/EU rate.

Funding Notes

A limited number of studentships funded by the BBSRC White Rose Doctoral Training Programme are available for a start in October 2017. They are competitive studentships based at the University of Sheffield, to include a placement at an industrial partner.

Applicants should have at least a 2:1 honours degree in a relevant subject or equivalent, and are available to students from UK and EU countries who meet UK residency requirements.

Further information on eligibility can be found at All applications should be accompanied by a CV. In your application you should explain which studentship(s) you are applying for, and why you would be a suitable candidate.

Selection: The deadline for applications is June 23rd. Shortlisting will take place as soon as possible after the closing date. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to an interview to take place at the University of Sheffield; interviews by video link can be arranged where visits are difficult.

How to apply:

Please complete a University Postgraduate Research Application form available here:

Please clearly state the prospective main supervisor in the respective box and select ‘Infection Immunity and Cardiovascular Disease’ as the department.


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