H2020-MSCA-ITN-2018 813239 (Jan. 1, 19 – Dec. 31, 23)
RNAct – Enabling proteins with RNA recognition motifs for synthetic biology and bio-analytics

Global aim

The RNAct research focusses on proteins containing RNA Recognition Motifs (RRM) to posttranscriptionally regulate gene expression and detect specific RNAs. The ability to manipulate these RRMs has wide application potential in bio-analytics and for the creation of synthetic pathways in cells, for example by enabling their activation via small molecule triggers. The 10 Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) trained through RNAct will acquire proficiency for molecular level work on proteins, with an understanding of both experiment and computation. In combination with complementary transversal and entrepreneurial skills training, this will enable the ESRs to constructively contribute to the European bio-economy in both academic and industry settings.

PhD project

Thesis promotor/supervisor: dott. Tommaso Martelli / prof. Marco Fragai
Location: CERM, University of Florence – Florence, Italy
Starting date: Between October and November 2019
Duration: 36 month
Funding: H2020-MSC-ITN project « RNAct », hold by W. Vranken (VUB, Brussel)

The PhD student will experimentally study RRMs using a range of biophysical and structural
biology techniques, in order to fully characterize and understand their binding with RNA at the atomic level. The ESR will focus on multi-domain RRMs, their interaction with RNA and the role of the linker on their orientation, using solution NMR with also paramagnetic probes.
The PhD will do a 3 months secondment at CNRS (CR CNRS, LORIA), to learn about computational techniques for RNA/RRM interactions and how to apply them with the experimental structural biology data.

The PhD will attend PhD school in Structural Biology at CERM (University of Florence).

keywords: molecular biology, protein expression, multi domain protein dynamics, NMR, paramagnetic NMR, protein-RNA interaction

European funding requires an international mobility: the candidates must not have resided or carried out their main activity in Italy for more than 12 months in the 3 years prior to the recruitment.
Candidates must have a master degree in any of the relevant disciplines: chemistry, structural biology, biochemistry.
The project is highly interdisciplinary and combines molecular biology and recombinant protein expression with advanced techniques in structural biology focusing on solution, solid-state NMR and crystallography.  Some experimental experience in these techniques is very desirable.
Candidates must be highly motivated and interested in interdisciplinary research and developing new ideas.

Candidates must be fluent in English.

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