Especially in higher eukaryotes, during and following translation, proteins can be modified in highly diverse ways. A very frequently occurring protein modification is the acetylation of a protein’s amino-terminus (N-terminus). While this modification changes the biophysical parameters of a protein’s N-terminus, surprisingly little is known about the functional consequences, if any, of this modification for the grand majority of affected proteins. Recent studies indicated the possibility that an N-terminal acetyl group can affect protein folding and thus protein conformation.
In this project we will first improve a mass spectrometry-based method for assessing protein conformation on a cellular scale. This method will then be applied to the proteomes of human cell lines that model human diseases. Selected proteins with altered conformation will be further validated using other molecular technologies by which we hope to get more insights in protein folding diseases, amongst others.
Our aim is thus to evaluate the influence of the absence or reduction of N-terminal acetylation on a proteome’s conformation.
- You hold a master’s degree in the field of life sciences
- You need to be eligible for applying for an FWO PhD fellowship; please thoroughly check: https://www.fwo.be/en/fellowships-funding/phd-fellowships/phd-fellowship-fundamental-research/regulations-phd-fellowships-fundamental-research/.
- You have an analytical and critical mindset
- You like working in an international and multicultural environment, and this always in a respectful manner
- You are a team player, yet are able to think and work independently
- You like to take on challenging projects, Data analysis does not scare you off
Desirable but not required (optional):
- Assets are experience with mass spectrometry-based proteomics, data analysis or cloning.
A research project has already been granted to secure your position for 4 years, the typical time needed to successfully complete a PhD-project at VIB and Ghent University. Yet, you will be challenged to obtain your own funding via the abovementioned FWO channel, with full support of the Gevaert lab and the VIB-UGent Center for Medical Biotechnology (https://cmb.vib.be/).
This project is part of a long-term collaboration with the Arnesen lab at Bergen University (Norway; https://www.uib.no/rg/nat) and frequent exchange of data and new ideas, and a possible research stay abroad are foreseen.
You will work in a top-notch lab environment with immediate access to state-of-the-art mass spectrometry via the VIB Proteomics Core (https://connect.vib.be/facilities/proteomics-core) housed in our Center.
Full career guidance and doctoral training programs are available from the lab, VIB and Ghent University.
How to apply
Motivated candidates are asked to apply online.