PhD student positions on "Functional state modulation of membrane proteins by dynamic association and dissociation"
- Published: Thursday, 26 November 2015 10:26
Applications are invited for two PhD student positions available 1.1.2016 in the Computational Pharmaceutical Chemistry & Molecular Bioinformatics group (Prof. Dr. Holger Gohlke; http://cpclab.uni-duesseldorf.de) at the Heinrich-Heine-University, Düsseldorf, Germany.
Background: The central question we intend to investigate within the newly established Collaborative Research Center (CRC) 1208 (“Identity and dynamics of membrane systems – From molecules to cellular function”) is how dynamic association and dissociation modulates the functional state of membrane proteins under the condition of conserving their molecular identity.
We will address this question on two systems: I) molecular components central for ethylene perception in plants, which are located at the ER and Golgi membranes (Binder, Chang, Schaller, Annu Plant Rev 44, 117-145, (2012)); II) PlbF, a novel phospholipase A from P. aeruginosa suggested to be a virulence factor, which is anchored in the inner bacterial membrane and exposed to the periplasm (http://docserv.uni-duesseldorf.de/servlets/DerivateServlet/Derivate-19673/PhD%20Thesis%20Filip%20Kovacic.pdf). In both cases, (multi)membrane systems play a crucial role for spatial coordination of dynamic association and dissociation.
By molecular simulation and modeling studies at an atomic level in close connection with experimental validation studies, we intend to provide insights on I) the role and transport of the copper cofactor for ethylene receptor biogenesis and ethylene perception in plants and II) the molecular mechanism of monomerization/dimerization-dependent PlbF activation.
As for both systems either almost none or only static atomic-level information is available, it is mandatory to develop a conceptual framework of adequate computational approaches for model building and hypothesis generation and high-content experimental platforms for validation and providing feedback. The molecular simulation and modeling studies will be performed by the PhD students in the Gohlke lab. The PhD students will furthermore work closely together with scientists of the Groth (http://www.biochemplant.hhu.de/) and Jaeger (http://www.iet.uni-duesseldorf.de/) labs for experimentally validating the established models and generated hypothesis.
Requirements: Ideal candidates will have a record of excellence and a strong background in computational biochemistry/chemistry or structural bioinformatics, a high interest in working in an interdisciplinary collaboration, and profound knowledge in state-of-the-art molecular dynamics simulations (Amber) software, molecular modeling (in particular, protein-protein docking), and QM/MM calculations.
Detailed information about living and studying in Düsseldorf is provided here: http://www.uni-duesseldorf.de/home/leben-in-duesseldorf.html