Diamond Light Source – University of Sussex Joint 4 year PhD Studentship

Brighton, United Kingdom Job closes: 22-Apr-2017 2:00 CEST

Structural and Mechanistic Insights into the Mechanism of Chromatin Remodelling and DNA Damage Repair by CHD ATPases

Applications are invited for a 4 year PhD Studentship based jointly at the University of Sussex and Diamond Light Source.


Dr Erika Mancini, Reader in Biomedical Structural Biology School of Life Sciences, University of Sussex
Dr Ralf Flaig, Senior Beamline Scientist, Diamond Light Source

Project Outline:

Chromatin is a dynamic structure that shapes the spatial organization of genetic information within the nucleus to satisfy the ever-changing demands of the cellular environment. The architecture of chromatin is controlled by a bewildering multitude of regulatory factors amongst which are ATP-dependent chromatin remodellers. Using energy from ATP hydrolysis these enzymes modify the contact points between DNA and histones, thereby affecting chromatin at every level, from the spacing of nucleosomes to its overall superstructure.

The PhD project aims to provide a structural and functional description of the mechanism of remodelling of the CHD Chromatin remodelling ATPase family. Techniques employed will range from cellular biology, to understand the role of these proteins in the DNA damage repair pathway, through to biochemistry, biophysics and integrative structural biology (X-ray crystallography, SAXS, cryo-EM). The student will benefit from access to the most advanced methodology currently available to collect structural data at a Synchrotron source and to an expert environment to progress the research project efficiently. Furthermore, the nature of the samples will require the state-of-the-art facilities available at Diamond including eBIC and BioSAXS and specialised MX beamlines.


The Sussex School of Life Sciences, soon to be relocated into a new state-of-the-art landmark building, provides a multidisciplinary, stimulating and supportive environment for post-graduate students. The University of Sussex is just nine minutes by train from Brighton, one of the UK’s most vibrant cities. The city is famous for its beautiful seafront, unique shops and markets, and thriving music and art scenes. Diamond Light Source is the UK’s national synchrotron and a leading scientific facility of its type in the world. Located on the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in South Oxfordshire, it hosts research facilities supporting cutting edge research in all fields of science. Structural biology is a key research area and is supported by several MX and life science related beamlines and world leading facilities on the campus.

Eligibility and Funding:

Ideal candidates will have a strong background in molecular biology and structural biology and a clear understanding of interest in the processes of gene expression and transcription regulation. Eligible candidates will have recently received an MSc and/or a First or high 2:1 BSc in a relevant subject. Due to restrictions on the funding this studentship is open to UK/EEU nationals students only. The studentship provides UK/EU tuition fees, a stipend (£16,300 per year) and funds towards travel between sites and conference attendance.

Application and Deadlines:

Submit your application using the online application system.

Please make sure you include the project title and your statement of interest on the application form. On the application system use Programme of Study – PhD BIOCHEMISTRY.

Deadline: 22nd April 2017. Interviews will take place by Skype or in person shortly thereafter.

Informal enquiries may be addressed to: Dr Erika Mancini (erika.mancini@sussex.ac.uk) or Dr Ralf Flaig (ralf.flaig@diamond.ac.uk).

For application queries, please contact Anna Izykowska: a.izykowska@sussex.ac.uk

Brighton, United Kingdom

Diamond Light Source – University of Sussex Joint 4 year PhD Studentship