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BBSRC iCASE Award PhD Studentship with Cairn Research (fixed term)


Analyses of calcium signalling pathways using advanced optical imaging and genetically encoded sensors

Applications are invited for a PhD studentship in the laboratory of Prof Colin W Taylor in the Department of Pharmacology, University of Cambridge to explore mechanisms of calcium signalling using advanced optical imaging methods. The project will be in association with Cairn Research Ltd (www.cairn-research.co.uk), which will provide first-hand experience of design and development of fluorescence microscopes. The specific project and placements with Cairn will be tailored to the interests of the successful candidate and can thereby accommodate students with backgrounds in the physical or life sciences. Further information is available from recent publications (Thillaiappan et al, Nat Comm. In press; Cell Reports 18, 711-; Nature 483, 108-) and our web site: https://www.phar.cam.ac.uk/research/taylor

Many stimuli control cellular activity by regulating the opening of Ca2+ channels. The lab is interested in IP3 receptors, which are intracellular Ca2+ channels that control Ca2+ release from the ER and, through store-operated Ca2+ entry, influx of Ca2+ across the plasma membrane. Regulated opening of these Ca2+ channels causes an increase in cytosolic Ca2+ concentration that controls many cellular activities, but Ca2+ passing through open IP3 receptors can also be directed to other intracellular organelles, notably mitochondria and lysosomes. This allows these organelles to accumulate Ca2+, which can then regulate their activities. Hence, IP3 receptors are the conduits through which Ca2+ within the ER can be redistributed to the cytosol or to other intracellular organelles. Many of these interactions occur at membrane contact sites, where two organelles are held together by tethering proteins forming junctions that facilitate communication between them. This project, in collaboration with Dr Steve Tovey at Cairn Research, will use genetically encoded Ca2+ sensors and additional tools to explore, using high-resolution optical microscopy, IP3 receptor regulation and interactions between the ER and other intracellular membranes.

Applicants must have or expect to obtain at least an upper 2nd class honours science degree (or equivalent). The appointee will be motivated, capable of developing his or her own ideas, and keen to interact effectively with other lab members. The studentship is for up to 4 years and will provide a stipend at the standard Research Council rate, college and university fees, and a travel allowance. Funding is available only for UK or EAA students who meet the UK residency requirements. The start date is October 1, 2018. Applicants must have or expect to obtain at least an upper 2nd class honours science degree (or equivalent). The appointee will be motivated, capable of developing his or her own ideas, and keen to interact effectively with other lab members. The studentship is for up to 4 years and will provide a stipend at the standard Research Council rate, college and university fees, and a travel allowance. Funding is available only for UK or EAA students who meet the UK residency requirements. The start date is October 1, 2018. Informal enquiries to Colin W Taylor (cwt1000@cam.ac.uk).

Applications from agencies will not be considered.

Applications must include a CV (including past exam results), the names and contact details of 2 academic referees, and short statement (no more than 350 words) describing your interest in the project. Applications must be sent to pharsect@hermes.cam.ac.uk to arrive no later than 5pm on December 7, 2017. Interviews of short-listed candidates are likely to be held between December 18 and 20.

Please quote reference PL13852 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy. The University values diversity and is committed to equality of opportunity. The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.