[alife] PhD Studentship in Chemical Biology/Computational Biology, Autumn 2014

V Anne Smith vas1 at st-andrews.ac.uk
Thu Apr 3 01:43:32 PDT 2014

PhD Studentship in Chemical Biology/Computational Biology, Autumn 2014

Disrupting a pathogen's metabolism without harming the host

Our aim is to use measures of network structure and robustness to assess the vulnerability of different species of pathogen to anti-infective drugs which target the enzymes essential to the pathogen's metabolism. As well as better understanding of interventions which will disrupt a pathogen's metabolism without harming the host, this will also give us insight into human and animal disease.

This studentship will apply computational systems biology, bioinformatics, and network analysis to assess the vulnerability of different species to metabolic diseases. You will use data on the interaction between proteins and small organic molecules to decipher metabolic networks, where enzyme-catalysed reactions link together substrates and products to form pathways and cycles. You will work with bioinformatics data to trace to both the variation of networks across different species and also the networks' evolution; you will apply simulations of metabolism's evolution to work backwards in time and suggest plausible evolutionary trajectories. Ultimately, you will develop predictions of perturbations that disrupt metabolic networks, and ones that can be safely applied. Potential future applications include the use of synthetic biology to exquisitely design interventions that will affect the pathogen's metabolism without risk to the host or environment.

You will be jointly supervised by Dr John Mitchell (Chemistry) and Dr V Anne Smith (Biology). Both groups work in computational systems biology and machine learning, with Dr Smith's research concentrating on network analysis and Dr Mitchell¹s on enzymes and computational chemistry.  For more information on their research please visit:
Dr John Mitchell¹s research pages:
Dr V Anne Smith¹s research pages:

The studentship will include a stipend and cover UK and EU tuition fees. International applicants will have to obtain fees from a different source.

Informal enquiries to jbom at st-andrews.ac.uk are encouraged.

Formal applications should follow to the University following the procedure available at:

Complete applications must have been received by the University by 25 April 2014.

Dr V Anne Smith
School of Biology
Sir Harold Mitchell Building
University of St Andrews
St Andrews, Fife KY16 9TH
United Kingdom
+44 (0)1334-463368
anne.smith at st-andrews.ac.uk<mailto:anne.smith at st-andrews.ac.uk>
The University of St Andrews is a charity registered in Scotland : No SC013532

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