15 PhD Positions in EU Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network: synBIOcarb - Synthetic Biology of Carbohydrate-Binding Proteins: Engineering Protein-Carbohydrate Interactions for Diagnostics and Cell Targeting

15 PhD Positions in EU Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network: synBIOcarb - Synthetic Biology of Carbohydrate-Binding Proteins: Engineering Protein-Carbohydrate Interactions for Diagnostics and Cell Targeting

various European Research Institutions

Leeds, United Kingdom

Are you keen to progress research in glycoscience at the interface between chemistry, biology and physics?

synBIOcarb is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network. It brings together 14 leading European partners in a transnational network, implementing a multidisciplinary and intersectorial research and training programme between the academic and the industrial partners in the fields of Synthetic Glycobiology.

Together, we will provide 15 Early Stage Researchers (ESR; 36 month PhD positions) with advanced scientific training in chemical synthesis, protein engineering, biophysics, cell biology and analytical device technologies that underpin the development and exploitation of glycoscience for diagnostics and targeted drug delivery. Each ESR will contribute to one, or more, of four thematic work packages that have been designed to progress the state of the art in Synthetic Glycobiology.

Work Package 1. Understanding and engineering protein-carbohydrate interactions
The objective of WP1 is to further our fundamental understanding of structure-activity relationships for protein-carbohydrate interactions. In particular, how changes in the architecture of lectins affects their binding selectivity and ability to interact with, bend and fuse membranes together.

  • ESR1 – Engineering multimeric lectin complexes for membrane fusion (Prof Turnbull; University of Leeds, UK)
  • ESR4 – Basic mechanisms and applications of lectin-triggered membrane fusion (Prof Römer, University of Freiburg, Germany)
  • ESR6 – Engineering of neo-lectins and janus lectins (Dr Imberty, CERMAV-CNRS, France)

Work Package 2. Functionalising complex surfaces with novel glycocalyx and lectin components
The objective of WP2 is to expand our toolbox of Synthetic Glycobiology building blocks that can be used to functionalise complex surfaces including supported bilayers, GUVs, living cells. This work will include chemical and enzymatic synthesis of new glycosylated lipidated peptides and use of bioorthogonal coupling to attach lectins to surfaces in defined orientations.

  • ESR2 – Mucin-like glycocalyx modules for creating more complex artificial glycocalyxes (Prof Turnbull; University of Leeds, UK)
  • ESR7 – Application of glycosyl transferases to functionalise protocells (Prof Breton, CERMAV-CNRS, France)
  • ESR8 – Glycopeptide- and lecto-modules for protein and cell-lipid bilayer-arrays (Prof Blixt, University of Copenhagen, Denmark)
  • ESR10 – Lectin attachment on surfaces by bioconjugation at non-canonical amino acids (Dr Wiltschi, ACIB; Austria)
  • ESR15 – Process development for the production of recombinant lectins in Escherichia coli (Dr Mairhofer, enGenes, Austria)

Work Package 3. Development of synthetic glycobiology tools for analytical and diagnostic methods
In WP3 we will involve developing methods to detect tumour associated cancer antigens and specific glycans important in the quality control of pharmaceutical glycoproteins.

  • ESR9 – Glyco-modulation of membranes to elucidate host-parasite interactions (Prof Blixt, University of Copenhagen, Denmark)
  • ESR12 – Nanotechnology-driven construction of bioanalytical devices for glycomics (Dr Tkáč, ICSAS, Slovakia)
  • ESR13 – Affinity-based methods for high-throughput determination of glycosylation (Dr Katrlík, ICSAS, Slovakia)
  • ESR14 – Development of a lectin kit for quality control of recombinant glycoprotein (Dr Landemarre, GLYcoDiag, France)

Work Package 4. Development of synthetic glycobiology tools for cell targeting and drug delivery
In WP4 we will investigate how lectins attached to polymers, other lectins, or antibody fragments/mimetics, through bioorthogonal coupling or genetic fusion, can be used to target cancer cells for drug delivery or immunotherapies.

  • ESR3 – Lectins on polymer scaffolds for superselective targeting of cancer cells (Dr Richter; University of Leeds, UK)
  • ESR5 – Crosslinking cytotoxic T cells and cancer cells with lectins to mediate cell death (Prof Römer, University of Freiburg, Germany)
  • ESR11 – Lectin-drug conjugates to induce cancer cell death by drug delivery (Dr Wiltschi, ACIB; Austria)

The successful candidate will participate in the network’s training activities and work placements at the laboratories of the synBIOcarb academic and industrial teams. Regular meetings and workshops within the EU-funded synBIOcarb Innovative Training Network will supplement the training and support provided at the host organisation. Practical scientific training will be complemented by a coordinated programme of industry-relevant transferable skills that will prepare the ESRs for future careers in the medical technologies sector.

Please apply via recruiter’s website.

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