Research Fellow in Experimental Biophysics of Light Harvesting Proteins
University of Leeds
You will be the main researcher on a new BBSRC-funded project which aims to study the photophysical properties of the light-absorbing proteins, which are critical for photosynthesis in purple bacteria and green plants. You will work with Dr Peter Adams in Leeds on this ambitious biophysics research program, in collaboration biochemists at University of Sheffield (group of Dr Andy Hitchcock). In this project, you will quantify how the pathways of energy transfer between chlorophyll and carotenoid pigments found within “light harvesting” (LH) membrane proteins may change due to different factors. We know that the type of carotenoids found within an LH protein modulate the energy transfer process, and also that protein-protein interactions have major effects, but we do not yet understand the molecular details.
To study this process, you will perform a detailed optical and structural comparison of four variants of the bacterial LH2 protein complex that contain different carotenoids. You will use these proteins to generate “model membrane” samples which have controlled composition (lipid nanodiscs and proteo-liposomes). Firstly, to characterize the optical properties of the system you will use a combination of absorption spectroscopy and fluorescence spectroscopy. Secondly, you will use a specialized microscope which combines fluorescence microscopy and atomic force microscopy to correlate the photophysical properties and nanoscale organization of these proteins. This will provide insight into the physical basis of photosynthetic processes which are crucial for life on Earth but poorly understood.
Enthusiastic and motivated, you will have a relevant PhD (or have submitted your thesis before taking up the role) in Biophysics, Biochemistry, Physics, or a related discipline. You will have significant experience in fluorescence spectroscopy and fluorescence microscopy of biological samples, ideally including fluorescent membrane proteins and lipid bilayers. You will be an excellent communicator, experienced at writing high impact papers and conference presentations. Familiarity or experience with fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM) and/ or atomic force microscopy (AFM) will be beneficial. Familiarity or experience of “light-harvesting” proteins or photosynthesis will be beneficial.
To explore the post further or for any queries you may have, please contact:
Dr Peter Adams, Associate Professor
Tel: +44 (0)113 343 9718 or email: P.G.Adams@leeds.ac.uk