Jobs in Structural Biology and Related Fields

PhD Programme

Grenoble, France
Application deadline: 19 May 2013

The Departments of Biochemistry and Chemistry at the University of Leicester, UK, and the Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL, Grenoble, France), jointly invite applications for a three-year PhD programme focusing on.


Electron transfer is of fundamental importance in biology and the way in which it is controlled is an area of considerable international activity. The importance of large-scale protein dynamics in regulating biological electron transfer is beginning to be recognised but the detailed structural description of these dynamic processes remains a challenge. This project will address this challenge in cytochrome P450 reductase, an enzyme which plays a key role in drug metabolism in man, by relating structurally-defined domain motion to individual steps in the catalytic cycle of the enzyme. In the cell the enzyme is membrane-bound, and a second key part of the work will be to obtain a structural model of the complex of the enzyme with cytochrome P450 in a membrane environment. The results of this work will go far beyond the information currently available on this important system and will greatly add to our understanding of its physiological behaviour.   

The PhD project will be located jointly in Grenoble (France), at the ILL, and at the University of Leicester. The range of skills learned will span from small angle neutron scattering and neutron reflectometry (physical chemistry; ILL) through protein purification and molecular biology (ILL and Leicester) to optical  and EPR spectroscopy (Leicester) and kinetic analyses (Leicester). At Leicester, the successful student will join a thriving multidisciplinary environment based in the new Henry Wellcome Building for Biomedical Science and the Department of Chemistry, and will be exposed to a range of methodologies at the chemistry/biology interface. The Henry Wellcome building is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment and laboratories, including instrumentation for protein expression and purification, protein crystallography, biological spectroscopy and mechanistic work. 

The successful candidate will be employed for a period of up to three years, with a gross salary of around 2350 €/month, together with other benefits depending on the student’s social status (for more details see: The project would suit a graduate in chemistry or biochemistry who is confident with physical chemistry (or even physics) and with an interest in molecular mechanisms in biology. A team of experts, including Professors Emma Raven, Gordon Roberts, & Peter Moody and Drs. Anne Martel & Giovanna Fragnato, will supervise the work of the PhD student.

Applicants should have or expect to obtain a first class or upper second class degree in Biochemistry, Chemistry or a related discipline such as Physics. Academic knowledge of condensed matter physics will be appreciated but is not essential.

Supervisors: Professors Emma Raven & Gordon Roberts, University of Leicester, and Drs. Anne Martel & Giovanna Fragneto, ILL (Grenoble).

Contact information: Students can contact Professor Raven (, Professor Roberts (, or Dr. Martel ( for informal discussion. Interviews for the post will take place at ILL.