Job Opportunities







Current vacancies:  

  • Two PhD studentships

PhD studentships

Closing date: 17th March 2023

Rings and Clamps around DNA in Asgard Archaeal Cells: Insights into DNA Replication and Repair from our closest Prokaryotic Ancestors

For full details, please apply here.

We are looking for applicants for a competitively awarded PhD studentship in the Spagnolo lab (University of Glasgow and Research Complex at Harwell) in collaboration with the Robinson lab (Lancaster University) to study DNA replication and repair in Asgard archaea.

Due to a recent update in UKRI guidance, we are delighted that we will now be able to accept applications from international students, with them able to make up to 30% of our cohort each year.


The very recent discovery of Asgard archaea led to a paradigm shift in evolutionary biology: their molecular similarity to eukaryotes is so close that the hypothesis arose that eukaryotes emerged directly from one of the Asgard lineages. DNA replication is a hallmark of living organism and as such has undergone intense biological investigation. Cryo-EM has played an important role in our current understanding of the eukaryotic DNA replication mechanism, in particular with respect to the highly dynamic replicative helicases.

The Spagnolo lab (Glasgow) has worked on the cryo-EM studies of the helicase from the archaeon Pyrococcus abyssi for some time, contributing to the characterisation of its structural polymorphism. Joining expertise with the Robinson group (Lancaster), who has long-standing expertise in the biochemistry and molecular biology of archaeal systems, including the replicative machinery and recent work on Asgard archaea, we are now setting out to study the MCM helicase from the recently isolated Asgard archaeon Candidatus Prometheoarchaeum syntrophicum and that from the thermophilic species Candidatus Odinarchaeum yellowstonii. Our structural and biochemical analyses will shed light on the fine molecular details of one of the paramount biological processes, DNA replication, at the interface between archaea and eukaryotes.

The anticipating training outcomes will be proficiency in the preparation and characterization of macromolecular complexes, as well as training in cryo-EM from grid preparation to structural determination and interpretation.

MVLS/EPSRC: Electrifying RNA recognition: Using electrons (and light) to unravel how the RNA metabolism Swiss Amy knife hStaufen1 protein works

For full details, please click here.

The double-stranded multifunctional RNA-binding protein Staufen1 was initially discovered in insects as a regulator of mRNA localization. Later, its mammalian orthologs and the Staufen2 paralog have been described in different organisms, including humans. Since their discovery, Staufen proteins have been studied for their involvement in various aspects of RNA metabolism. Given the pivotal role of RNA metabolism within cells, recent studies have explored the mechanistic impact of Staufen proteins in a wide variety of cell functions ranging from cell growth to cell death, as well as in various disease states. In particular, there has been increasing attention on the role of Staufen in neuromuscular disorders, neurodegeneration, and cancer. This project aims at deciphering the Staufen code using state-of-the-art facilities and expertise at the University of Glasgow (cryo-EM, optical tweezers) and at the Research Complex at Harwell (SAXS, spectroscopy, single molecule biophysics, high-resolution cryo-EM tomography).

Please apply here.