LSI Our laboratory is based at the Living Systems Institute at the University of Exeter. The new institute provides an exciting interdisciplinary environment bringing together leaders in Biology, Physics, Medicine and Mathematics.

We have 2 current opportunities, applications close in January

Expansion microscopy of cellular signalling structures

Deadline: January 30 2020
Title: EPSRC DTP Studentships
Funding: Fees & Scholarship at RCUK levels, for eligible domestic and EU students
Start: September 2020
Apply: Exeter DTP website

Please get in touch so we have a chance to advise you on making a strong application

RyR cluster expansion

In modern biophysics it is critical to resolve molecular detail to reveal molecular mechanisms. For this reason new types of high resolution microscopy, often termed super-resolution microscopy, have had a big impact on biophysics. In this project we will pursue a recently proposed alternative way to see near-molecular detail. Classical microscopy generates an enlarged image of a sample. The new modality termed ‘expansion microscopy’ replaces this with a more radical alternative - it physically magnifies, i.e. swells, the sample. This is achieved by attaching a biological sample to a gel matrix which is then expanded by swelling it (the gel material is similar to the gels used in nappies to absorb fluids). This can achieve up to 10-fold expansion in each direction, a remarkable physical magnification that increases effective resolution from ~250 nm to 25 nm using conventional microscopes - a scale that makes macromolecular complexes in biological samples accessible. We will develop these new methods to investigate the structure of microscopic chemical signalling systems, called “nanodomains”, in heart cells which are critical for the forceful contraction of the heart.

Figure 1. With expansion microscopy a heart cell is examined using a fluorescence microscope and reveals microscopic clusters of proteins that act as signalling nano-domains. We achieve fully molecular resolution, so that we can count individual receptors which is key to understanding the biophysics of signalling.

LSI PhD Studentship Program

Deadline: 6 Januar 2020
Title: LSI Studentships
Funding: Places are fully funded with funding also available for overseas applicants. This includes payment of tuition fees, a personal stipend for 3.5 years (currently £15,009 per year 2019/20) and a training budget
Start: September 2020
Apply: Online Application via Exeter Website

The LSI has opened its first call for its new interdisciplinary PhD programme for the autumn 2020 intake. We wish to recruit the best and most imaginative students from across the full range of disciplines to join our thriving community of over 60 PhD students.

LSI Studentship Program

Students can shape their own projects. Suggestions for projects which I supervise or co-supervise include:

A chemically inducible dimerisation system to monitor and control protein-protein interactions in live cells using super-resolution microscopy
Christian Soeller, Steven West and Steffen Scholpp

Using CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing and single molecule imaging to trace RNA fate – one molecule at a time
Steven West and Christian Soeller

These two projects are closely linked to an exciting new research project, funded by the BBSRC, between the Soeller and West labs in the LSI.

Full Project Details

See here for full project details...

The opportunity below has now closed

BBSRC funded PhD on Protein Cluster Biophysics and Super-Resolution Imaging

Deadline: 2nd December 2019
Title: Effects of clustering and phosphorylation on nanoscale receptor signalling
Funding: BBSRC, Fees & Scholarship at RCUK levels, for eligible domestic and EU students
Start: September 2020
Apply: Online Application via Exeter Website

We intend to focus on understanding the basis of the dependence of protein excitability on protein clustering properties. For this we will combine quantitative imaging via super-resolution (Soeller lab) and correlation imaging (Scholpp lab) with new biological insights following the discovery of the role of the protein myospryn for RyR clustering by Prof. Derek Blake's lab in Cardiff .

RyR cluster models

Figure. Emerging view of ryanodine recptor (RyR) arrangement within clusters. (A) The classic model of a regular arrangement of RyRs. (B) The revised model based on tomographic EM and our new DNA-PAINT super-resolution data proposing looser arrangement of RyRs. Adapted from Jayasinghe et al. (2018).

Full Project Details

See here for full project details...