Identification of substrates and interactors of prokaryotic rhomboid protease

membrane protease, syn/degradation

Identification of substrates and interactors of prokaryotic rhomboid protease


Start date: 1 April 2018

Director of Studies: Ansgar Poetsch
2nd Supervisor: Mathew Upton
3rd Supervisor: Tina Joshi

The Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry are seeking to attract PhD candidates of outstanding ability to join their exciting and rapidly expanding programme of internationally-rated research. The Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry are committed to research excellence with a recent £25 million investment in staff and facilities. Medical research at PUPSMD was ranked first for outputs in REF2014.

Applications are invited from suitably qualified graduates, 2:1 or above, and preferably a relevant MSc or MRes qualification. International students must also have an IELTS score of 7.0 or above (with no less than 6.5 in any element).

The use of regulated intramembrane proteolysis, accomplished by rhomboid proteases with their cellular membrane-embedded catalytic centre, allows for modifying the function of proteins by specific cleavage. The huge lack of knowledge about rhomboid function and regulation in prokaryotes favours proteomic screening approaches to discover targets and regulatory mechanisms, which will be frequently employed in this project. Overarching aim is the identification of rhomboid substrates in the selected prokaryotes C. glutamicum and H. volcanii and of the underlying mechanisms that confer substrate cleavage specificity. For this purpose, rhomboid gene deletion mutants are available that will be cultivated under different conditions and subjected to substrate screening approaches using advanced proteomics techniques, such as protein turnover analysis (see references). The ideal candidate has a strong background in microbiology and biochemistry/proteomics.

Research about H. volcanii rhomboid will be in close collaboration with an Argentinian team at University Mar del Plata. The candidate is expected to travel for short research stays to Argentina and to present results at national or international conferences.

Apart from the research project, the successful candidate will participate in supporting courses for conducting research offered by the University of Plymouth.

For further information regarding the project, please contact Dr Ansgar Poetsch ( However, applications must be made in accordance with the details shown below.

Funding notes:

The studentship is supported for three years and includes full home/EU tuition fees plus a stipend of £14,553 per annum. The studentship will only fully fund those applicants who are eligible for home/EU fees with relevant qualifications. Applicants normally required to cover overseas fees will have to cover the difference between the Home/EU and the overseas tuition fee rates. For the 17/18 academic year the difference in fee is (£10350 – biomedical sciences) If you are selected you will be required to provide financial assurances.

To apply:

Follow the link and select ‘Apply’ to access the application form. Please mark the application for the attention of Nikki King/Jill Gratton. Please note: you do not need to submit a project proposal with your application.

Further information on the application process. If you have any questions on the admissions process contact

The closing date for applications is 12 noon on 5 February 2018. 

Shortlisted applicants will be contacted in the new year. We regret that we may not be able to respond to all applications. Applicants who have not received an offer of a place by 8 March 2018 should consider their application has been unsuccessful on this occasion.