Primary Supervisor: Dr Yiliang Ding - Yiliang.Ding@jic.ac.uk
Secondary Supervisor: Ben Miller (Uea,Bio)
Codon optimisation is a common method in synthetic biology to achieve high levels of protein expression. It relies on the creation of so-called “silent” or synonymous mutations within a coding sequence, such that the DNA/RNA sequence is altered but the resulting amino acid sequence remains unchanged. Codon optimisation mainly takes into account codon usage bias (i.e. which of the 61 codons encoding for one of 20 amino acids are preferentially used in a given species), although more sophisticated online tools also use additional parameters such as GC content, mRNA structure, repetitive sequences and inadvertent introduction of regulatory cis-elements.
This project will study the effect of synonymous mutations on in vivo RNA structure and how this can be used to improve codon optimisation to achieve greater control over transgene expression in plants. The project will define the structure of RNA species in vivo and compare this to phenotypic analysis of synonymous mutants in plants. This work will be essential to shed new light on how synonymous mutations influence RNA structure and thus protein function in living cells. The student will receive extensive training in molecular biology, synthetic biology, nucleic acid chemistry and bioinformatics. The successful applicant will enjoy the benefits of working at both the John Innes Centre and the University of East Anglia.
The Norwich Research Park Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (NRPDTP) is open to the UK and international candidates for entry in October 2022 and offers postgraduates the opportunity to undertake a 4-year PhD research project whilst enhancing professional development and research skills through a comprehensive training programme. You will join a vibrant community of world-leading researchers. All NRPDTP students undertake a three-month professional internship placement (PIPS) during their study. The placement offers exciting and invaluable work experience designed to enhance professional development. Full support and advice will be provided by our Professional Internship team. Students with, or expecting to attain, at least an upper second class honours degree, or equivalent, are invited to apply.
This project has been shortlisted for funding by the NRPDTP programme. Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed on Tuesday 25th January, Wednesday 26th January and Thursday 27th January 2022.
You can visit the Norwich Research Park Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership pages for further information on eligibility and the application process.
Our partners value diverse and inclusive work environments that are positive and supportive. Students are selected for admission without regard to gender, marital or civil partnership status, disability, race, nationality, ethnic origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation, age or social background.