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Single-molecule studies of how amino acids are accurately selected during protein synthesis on the ribosome

Applications are invited for a PhD fellowship/scholarship at Graduate School of Natural Sciences, Aarhus University, Denmark, within the Molecular Biology and Genetics programme. The position is available from 1 November 2020 or later.


Title:
Single-molecule studies of how amino acids are accurately selected during protein synthesis on the ribosome


Research area and project description:
During translation of the genetic message, bacterial elongation factor EF-Tu transports amino acids to the ribosome, and helps securing that the amino acids are correctly selected in response to codons displayed in the ribosomal A site. The dynamic properties of EF-Tu are known to play a central role during this process, but the underlying mechanism remains poorly understood.

In this project, advanced single-molecule techniques will be employed to compare the dynamic behaviour of EF-Tu during correct and incorrect decoding. EF-Tu mutants will be designed, characterized and labelled with a bifunctional fluorescent probe at strategic positions, and active, labelled EF-Tu molecules will be studied by single-molecule microscopy during their interaction with ribosomes to obtain spatial and kinetic information about the decoding process.

The successful applicant will be part of an established, productive research collaboration between researchers working within the fields of molecular biology, biochemistry and biophysics. Approximately, one third of the study period will be spent in the laboratory of Prof. Yale Goldman at University of Pennsylvania.

The project is fully funded by a grant from the Independent Research Fund Denmark.


Qualifications and specific competences:
Applicants must have a Master’s degree in molecular biology, biophysics or similar at university level with good results. Strong skills in speaking and writing English are required. The successful applicant must be highly motivated, and capable of working independently. As further criteria for the assessment of your qualifications, emphasis will be laid on previous experience with biological sample handling, experience with single-molecule microscopy and programming languages (MatLab and/or Python), as well as solid math skills.


Place of employment and place of work:
Aarhus University, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetic, Gustav Wieds Vej 10C, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark.


Contacts:
Applicants seeking further information are invited to contact:

Main supervisor: Associate professor, Charlotte Rohde Knudsen, Dept. Molecular Biology and Genetics, Aarhus University, mail: crk@mbg.au.dk , tel.: +45 20572372.


Application procedures


Before you apply

Information and attachments:

Please be aware that you must have all relevant appendices, attachments, addresses for referees, etc. ready when you apply, as the entire application must be uploaded to the system in one go.

Documentation of language skills:

The English language requirement at the graduate school is comparable to an “English B level” in the Danish upper secondary school (“gymnasium”).

English language qualifications comparable to an “English B level” are documented by one of the following tests:

  • TOEFL test (internet-based), minimum score: 83. The graduate school does not accept the paper-based test, nor the TOEFL ITP test. Remember to ask the test center to send your test results to Aarhus University in order to enable verification of your test results. Aarhus University’s TOEFL code is 8935.
    Currently, the TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition test (available in selected areas) will also be accepted.
  • IELTS (academic) test, minimum average score: 6.5 points/C1 level
    Please note, from 1 June 2020 the Graduate School of Science and Technology has split in two following the split of the faculty. For the two new schools, Graduate School of Natural Sciences and Graduate School of Technical Sciences, the minimum average score requirement for an IELTS test is  6.5 points equivalent of a C1 level. B2 level is no longer accepted.
  • Cambridge English Language Assessment:
    Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency (CPE)
    Cambridge English: Certificate of Advanced English with grade A,B or C (CAE)
    Cambridge English: First Certificate with grade A (FCE)

When to take the test and how to upload the documentation:
The test result must not be more than two years old at the time of application.

The English language test should be taken before applying for admission and uploaded under “language skills documentation” in the online application form.

It is possible to apply for admission before you have taken the test. In this case documentation stating that you have signed up for a test (please state expected submission date) must be uploaded. If the test result is not part of the original application the test result is to be sent to gsns@psys.au.dk no later than one month after the application deadline.

The following applicants are exempted from documenting their English qualifications/taking a test:

  • Applicants with citizenship from the following countries: Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the United States, or one of the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway or Sweden).
  • Applicants with a Bachelor’s or Master’s programme completed in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, or the United States. In this case, please upload your Bachelor’s or Master’s diploma under the section ”Language skills documentation”.
  • Applicants with a Bachelor’s or Master’s programme completed at a Danish university for which the requirement was English B level at the time of admission. In this case, please upload your Bachelor’s or Master’s diploma under the section ”Language skills documentation”.

The programme committee may request further information or invite the applicant to attend an interview.

How to apply:

1)      Find the application form:
Go to https://phd.nat.au.dk/for-applicants/apply-here/ - Note, the online application system opens on 1 June 2020.
Choose August 2020 Call with deadline 1 August 2020 at noon (11.59 AM CEST).
You will be directed to the call, and must choose the programme “Molecular Biology and Genetics”.

2)      Fill in the following information:

  • Personal information
  • Academic background
  • Admission
  • Financing (if any)
  • Study: In the dropdown menu you must choose the project: “Single-molecule studies of how amino acids are accurately selected during protein synthesis on the ribosome”
  • Source (how you found out about the call)

Next to some of the information fields you will find a number. Click on the number to get further directions on how to fill in the information field/what information is needed.

3)      Application attachments:
Please be aware that you cannot submit the application if one or several of these documents have not been uploaded.

If you wish to upload more than one document under each section, you must scan/merge all documents into one large PDF file and upload this. Please note that we reserve the right to remove scientific papers, large reports, theses and the like. Instead you can indicate a URL where the information is available.

All information in the application must be in English or Danish, preferably English. A certified English translation is required for documents written in languages other than English or one of the Scandinavian languages (i.e. Norwegian, Swedish or Danish) languages.

As a minimum all applications must include (pdf-files only, max. 20 MB, no zip):

  • One reference (template for references)
  • Curriculum vitae,
  • Motivation (max. 1 page)
  • Transcripts, grade point averages (weighted and unweighted), and diploma(s) for both Bachelor’s and Master’s degree. If the original documents are not in English or one of the Scandinavian languages (i.e. Norwegian, Swedish or Danish) then copies of the original documents as well as a certified English translation must be attached.
  • Project description (½-4 pages). For technical reasons, you must upload a project description. When - as here - you apply for a specific project, please simply copy the project description above, and upload it as a PDF in the application. If you wish to, you can indicate an URL where further information can be found. Please note that we reserve the right to remove scientific papers, large reports, theses and the like.
  • Documentation of language skills if required.

After submission of the application, you will receive a confirmation e-mail with an application ID, you should use for reference if needed.

The graduate school reserves the right to verify the authenticity of your educational diploma and transcripts:

  • Request additional information to verify an application.
  • Reject the application if it is proven, or if the University has reasonable belief, that the information provided is false or if the applicant refuses to provide the requested information, whether or not an offer has already been made. 
  • For further information on applying, assessment procedures, etc. please see the GSNS Application Guide.

Please note:

  • The programme committee may request further information or invite the applicant to attend an interview.

All interested candidates are encouraged to apply, regardless of their personal background.

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