- Type of research degree
- Application deadline
- Ongoing deadline
- Project start date
- Thursday 1 October 2020
- Country eligibility
- International (open to all nationalities, including the UK)
- Competition funded
- Dr Peter Adams and Dr George Heath
- Additional supervisors
- Stephen Evans
- School of Physics and Astronomy
Understanding photosynthesis could provide valuable clues for future solar technology and help our understanding of food crops. Solar photons are absorbed by the biomembranes within chloroplasts, where large numbers of Light-Harvesting Complex (LHC) proteins act as a satellite dish for channelling energy to Photosystem (PS) proteins. However, we need a better understanding of the dynamic structure and biophysical properties of the system. We can map the protein structure and arrangement to nanoscale resolution using a technique called Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM). Recent developments in AFM also allow video-speed imaging and measurements of the protein dynamics at the millisecond to microsecond timescale. Fluorescence spectroscopy and microscopy (FM) then allows us to quantify the important optical properties and energy transfer processes which occur within these proteins. In this project, you will quantify the nanoscale structural dynamics of these proteins using high speed AFM and fluorescence techniques. Firstly, you will study how the so-called “supercomplexes” of PS/LHC proteins can assemble and disassemble in real time with AFM and FM imaging. You will systematically assess the effect of membrane composition and the effect of temperature. This will reveal the interaction strength and remodelling capabilities of these critically important Photosystem clusters. Secondly, you will quantify the flexibility and rearrangement of single LHC proteins with a newly developed ultra-fast height spectroscopy mode of AFM. Here, you will assess the effect of pH, which is thought to trigger changes to these proteins. Finally, you will quantify energy transfer processes of different configurations of proteins using advanced fluorescence spectroscopy. Characterizing the structural arrangement and biophysical properties of these membrane proteins will greatly advance our understanding photosynthesis.
<p>Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the <a href="https://www.leeds.ac.uk/info/130206/applying/91/applying_for_research_degrees">University's website</a>. Please state clearly in the research information section that the research degree you wish to be considered for is “Seeing photosynthesis at the nanoscale: mapping physical properties of light-harvesting biomembranes by high-resolution microscopy and spectroscopy” as well as <a href="https://eps.leeds.ac.uk/physics/staff/4098/dr-peter-adams">Dr Peter Adams</a> and <a href="https://eps.leeds.ac.uk/physics/staff/6132/dr-george-heath">George Heath</a> as your proposed supervisor.</p> <p>If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University's minimum English language requirements (below).</p> <p><em>We welcome applications from all suitably-qualified candidates, but UK black and minority ethnic (BME) researchers are currently under-represented in our Postgraduate Research community, and we would therefore particularly encourage applications from UK BME candidates. All scholarships will be awarded on the basis of merit.</em></p>
Applicants to research degree programmes should normally have at least a first class or an upper second class British Bachelors Honours degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate discipline. The criteria for entry for some research degrees may be higher, for example, several faculties, also require a Masters degree. Applicants are advised to check with the relevant School prior to making an application. Applicants who are uncertain about the requirements for a particular research degree are advised to contact the School or Graduate School prior to making an application.
The minimum English language entry requirement for research postgraduate research study is an IELTS of 6.0 overall with at least 5.5 in each component (reading, writing, listening and speaking) or equivalent. The test must be dated within two years of the start date of the course in order to be valid. Some schools and faculties have a higher requirement.
<p><strong>Funding Eligibility - UK/EU </strong>– Leeds Doctoral Scholarship Award paying Academic Fees and Maintenance matching EPSRC rate of £15,009 per year for 3 years, School of Physics & Astronomy Scholarship award paying Academic Fees and Maintenance matching EPSRC rate of £15,009 per year for 3 years. Alumni Bursary is available to previous University of Leeds graduates offering 10% discount on Academic Fees. Please contact the supervisor for advice on applying.</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Funding Eligibility - International Students</strong> – China Scholarship Council-University of Leeds Scholarship Award paying Academic Fees for 3 years, School of Physics & Astronomy Fee Only Scholarship award paying Academic Fees for 3 years, Commonwealth Scholarship and Commonwealth Split Site Scholarships. Alumni Bursary is available to previous University of Leeds graduates offering 10% discount on Academic Fees. Please contact the supervisor for advice on applying.</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Self-funded students</strong> are also very welcome to apply.</p>
<p>For further information on the project do not hesitate to contact any of the project supervisors by email (Peter Adams <a href="mailto:email@example.com">firstname.lastname@example.org</a> and George Heath <a href="mailto:G.R.Heath@leeds.ac.uk">G.R.Heath@leeds.ac.uk</a>). We are always happy to discuss scientific questions with pro-active candidates. For details on how to apply and admin arrangements, please contact Doctoral College Admissions by email: <a href="mailto:EMAIL@leeds.ac.uk">m</a><a href="mailto:email@example.com">firstname.lastname@example.org</a>, or by telephone: +44 (0)113 343 5057.</p>
<h3 class="heading heading--sm">Linked funding opportunities</h3>
<h3 class="heading heading--sm">Linked research areas</h3>