PhD Scholarships in Cryo-electron Microscopy of Membrane Proteins
Monash University
Australia

PhD Scholarships - ARC Industrial Transformation Training Centre for Cryo-electron Microscopy of Membrane Proteins

Job No.: 618401

Location: Parkville campus

Employment Type: Full-time

Duration: 4-year Fixed-term appointment

Remuneration: Tax-free stipend of $33,413 per annum

  • Be inspired, every day
  • Drive your own learning at one of the world’s top 80 universities
  • Take your career in exciting, rewarding directions

Everyone needs a platform to launch a satisfying career. At Monash, we give you the space and support to take your career in all kinds of exciting new directions. You’ll have access to quality research, infrastructure and learning facilities, opportunities to collaborate internationally, as well as the grants you’ll need to publish your work. We’re a university full of energetic and enthusiastic minds, driven to challenge what’s expected, expand what we know, and learn from other inspiring, empowering thinkers.

Monash University strongly advocates diversity, equality, fairness and openness. We fully support the gender equity principles of the Athena SWAN Charter and invite you to join us in celebrating women in STEMM.

The Opportunity

We are looking for highly motivated, passionate and competitive candidates for 4-year fully funded PhD positions in the recently established ARC Centre for Cryo-electron Microscopy of Membrane Proteins. Successful candidates will join the Centre, directed by Professor Patrick Sexton, which is a collaborative venture of Monash University (Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Parkville campus), University of Melbourne (Bio21 Institute), University of Wollongong and the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute.

About the Positions

The successful applicants will be working in multidisciplinary research teams in the new ARC Industrial Transformation Training Centre for Cryo-electron Microscopy of Membrane Proteins (CCeMMP), where we are working with our partners to enhance the utility and application of cryo-EM to challenging membrane proteins that comprise the largest target class for therapeutic drug development.

The Centre provides advanced training in all aspects of membrane protein cryo-EM, including sample biochemistry, 3D image reconstruction, extraction of protein dynamics, and independent operation of 120kV, 200kV and 300kV instruments that are used for high-resolution structure determination. Our Doctoral Training Program will equip successful graduates with critical skills required for transformative use of cryo-EM for membrane protein drug discovery and development. The CCeMMP fosters close partnerships between our university-based researchers and industry-based research end-users to provide transformative research programs and innovative doctoral training. Projects may include combinations of structural cryo-EM, biochemistry, pharmacology, medicinal chemistry or related discipline.

The CCeMMP is supported by industry partners Thermo Fisher Scientific, Servier, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Dimerix Biosciences, Catalyst Therapeutics, Astex Pharmaceuticals, Novo Nordisk, Sanofi-Aventis, Genentech, BioCurate Pty Ltd, FB Rice Pty Ltd, and Clarivate Analytics Ltd.

Monash Node PhD Supervisory Team

  • Professor Patrick Sexton
  • Associate Professor Denise Wootten
  • Dr Matthew Belousoff

The Monash Nod of the CCeMMP has two major research program areas:

  1. Technology development
  2. Application of cryo-EM to explore the structure and function of GPCRs, and the application of this knowledge to drug discovery

Project area 1.1:

Grid design, grid preparation and vitrification technologies to enhance membrane protein cryo-EM

Project area 1.2:

Enhancing efficiency and throughput in membrane protein cryo-EM workflows

Project area 1.3:

Enhancing biochemical approaches to expand the repertoire of GPCR states accessible to cryo-EM

  1. How do distinct detergent and lipid solubilisation environments influence GPCR cryo-EM?
  2. Exploration of approaches to determine Apo GPCR structures
  3. Exploration of approaches to determine inhibitor-bound, inactive state structures
  4. Exploration of approaches to determine dimeric (homo-dimer; heterodimer) structures
  5. Exploration of approaches to determine GPCR structures with non-canonical transducers, or transducers fro which no current methodologies have been validated for routine use in structure determination

Project area 2.1:

Determination of novel GPCR structures

  1. Receptors with previously determined structures exploring novel states (splice variants: apo; inhibitor-bound; complexes with different transducers; complexes with novel ligands)
  2. Structure determination for orphan receptors

Project area 2.2:

Determination of the relationship between ligand efficacy and stability of receptor-transducer complexes for individual GPCRs and determination of structure and dynamics of individual agonist-GPCR complexes of potential therapeutic interest

Project area 2.3:

Determine the relationship between ligand efficacy and the ability to determine inactive state GPCR structures for individual receptors of potential therapeutic interest

Further information on the CCeMMP, the 4-year Doctoral Training Program, Research Nodes, Program and Project areas can be found at our website: www.ccemmp.org

Candidate Requirements

Applications are invited from outstanding and enthusiastic graduates with relevant backgrounds (biophysics, biochemistry, chemistry or equivalent)

Students will be of a high scholarly calibre and will have:

  • A First-Class Honours degree, Masters degree or equivalent
  • Analytical thinking, data analysis and critical problem-solving skills
  • Excellent time management skills and ability to work independently
  • An in and/or experience working with industry partners
  • Applicants with publications will be highly regarded
  • Fluency in written and oral English

In accordance with the requirements of the ARC ITTC program, all HDR students will be required to complete a 12-month industry placement during their candidature.

Applications

Expressions of interest in the CCeMMP Doctoral Training Program are open now. 

Candidates must include the following when submitting a formal EOI:

  • Resume
  • Cover Letter
  • Academic Transcripts
  • 2 Referees
  • Please identify your program/project areas of interest within your cover letter and provide 150 words on "Why you are interested in this program/project area"

Submissions should be made by clicking the "Apply now" button on the Centre website, or by direct email to: ccemmp@monash.edu with the subject line "EOI for the CCeMMP Doctoral Training Program"

Additional information:

Competitive candidates will be invited to interview with the Centre  HDR committee, who will make recommendations to the Centre Executive for Scholarship offers and invitations to join the CCeMMP Doctoral training program.

Applications that are identified through the standard Institutional HDR Scholarship process of the individual research nodes may also be considered. Interest in the CCeMMP program must be clearly identified.

Enquiries

Informal inquiries are strongly encouraged and should be directed to the Centre Manager, Dr Jackie How, ccemmp@monash.edu

Closing Date for EOIs

Monday 31 May 2021, 11:55 pm AEST


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