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PhD Scholarship in Molecular Biophysics Topic Unraveling The Assembly of Gpcr Complexes Transducing Signals Across Cell Membranes

ETH Zurich is delighted to offer a PhD position in molecular biology. Applicants should apply as soon as possible.

The Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering (D-BSSE) in Basel has 350 international staff and scientists of many disciplines. We focus on research in complex biological systems. The Department is part of the ETH, a world leading university for research in science and technology. For ourBiophysics Group in Baselwe are seeking a PhD Student in Molecular Biophysics – Topic: Unraveling the assembly of GPCR complexes transducing signals across cell membranes

The abilityof a cell to respond to a great variety of extracellular stimuli is enabled by a complex protein machinery associated with the cell membrane. The core of this machinery consists of transmembrane G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) and their intracellular interaction partners, G proteins and arrestin. The complexes formed by these key players in signal transduction are responsible for our ability to see, smell and taste, or respond to hormones and they are targets of 40% of all currently available drugs. The evidence is increasing that the functional response of GPCRs to external stimuli depends on the structure and stability of the formed complexes with G proteins or arrestin. However, the knowledge about the complex structures and the dynamic processes of their assembly and disassembly is strongly limited so far. This lack of information directly connects with our restricted understanding of how signals are transduced across cell membranes and how this process is regulated.

This PhD project applies newest atomic force microscopy (AFM)-based imaging and manipulation tools to study the assembly and disassembly of GPCR signaling complexes at the single molecule resolution. Moreover, the role of the cell membrane composition, protein phosphorylation and diverse other cellular parameters on the complex formation will be studied to unravel their regulatory functions. The results will be complemented by high-end molecular dynamics simulations providing atomistic views on the experimentally investigated processes.

We search for a highly motivated candidate to work in an inspiring multidisciplinary field that combines engineering, biophysics, cell biology and molecular biology, and molecular systems engineering. The candidate having a strong background in chemistry, physics, biophysics, molecular and cell biology will be coached by a vibrating consortium of international experts such as needed to perform an excellent PhD project.


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