Sunday, October 7, 2007

Dorothy Hodgkin Postgraduate Award (DHPA) at Newcastle University

Applications are invited for the BBSRC-Croda Dorothy Hodgkin Postgraduate Award. This fully-funded scholarship will enable a top quality, well-qualified, international student to study for a PhD on the biological mechanisms of fatty acid metabolism in marine bacteria, using a systems biology approach, commencing in 2007-08 and based in the School of Marine Science and Technology (MAST) at the Dove Marine Laboratory at Newcastle University under the supervision of Professor Grant Burgess.

This fully-funded Dorothy Hodgkin Postgraduate Award (DHPA) will enable a high quality international student to study for a PhD at Newcastle starting some time in the 2007-08 academic year. This prestigious award covers the cost of postgraduate tuition fees at the overseas rate and provides a grant at a standard research council rate.

About the DHPA Scheme
Further information about this scheme, including its rationale, is available at the following web site: http://www.rcuk. .

Value of the BBSRC-Croda DHPA
The DHPA covers the cost of postgraduate tuition fees at the international/ overseas rate and will provide a maintenance grant at a standard research council rate for up to three years' study, subject to satisfactory progress by the award holder. A DHPA may not be held concurrently with other funding such as another scholarship, for example an ORS Award.

Background to Research
The award holder will be based in MAST and the award will be jointly funded by one of the UK research councils (Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council - http://www.bbsrc. and an industrial partner (Croda – http://www.croda. com). The research undertaken will be expected to be within the remit of the research council.

Systems biology of fatty acid biosynthesis in marine bacteria

The DHPA will provide an outstanding training opportunity in an area of great scientific importance using state-of-the- art methodology.

There is increasing demand for biomass rather than petroleum to provide natural and pure industrial chemicals. However, one enormous challenge is to develop a range of bioprocesses, which can convert or process chemically complex biological mixtures into pure chemicals that industry needs. Nature already processes biological materials using complex arrays of enzymes, which form carefully regulated biosynthetic / biodegradative pathways. The majority of known industrial enzymatic processes, which produce pure chemicals, are based on enzyme systems from terrestrial organisms. However, not only is the sea a major source of biomass (for food and energy), it is becoming an increasingly significant source of biomass for the production of fine chemicals. In addition, the diversity of marine organisms is known to be greater than any other environment and remains relatively untapped. This project will focus on the natural
processing of fats and oils in the marine habitat and specifically by marine bacteria. The successful applicant will build on recent advances in this field and apply the exciting areas of genomics, bioinformatics and biotechnology to investigate the diversity and function of marine microbial fat processing enzymes.

References relevant to the project:
(1) Metz, J G et al (2001) Production of polyunsaturated fatty acids by polyketide synthases in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Science 293, 290-293.

(2) Burgess, J G et al (1993) An optical fiber photobioreactor for enhanced production of the marine unicellular alga Isochrysis aff. galbana T-Iso (UTEX LB 2307) rich in docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, 39, 456-459.

(3) Okuyama et al. (2007) Bacterial Genes Responsible for the Biosynthesis of Eicosapentaenoic and Docosahexaenoic Acids and Their Heterologous Expression. Appl. Env. Microbiol. 73, 665-670.

Eligibility for our DHPA:
  • Candidates will be expected to hold a first-class degree or equivalent from a prestigious academic institution, either in the UK or overseas. The overriding criterion of the scheme is excellence, and DHPA scholars should be easily recognizable as the 'best of the best'
  • Candidates must be able to start their studies within the 2007-08 academic year, eg possibly January 2008. applications from students who have already started their MPhil/PhD at Newcastle will not be accepted.
  • Candidates must be student nationals from one of the following eligible countries:
Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Dem. Rep., Congo, Rep., Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt , El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Korea, Democratic Republic, Kyrgyz Rep., Laos, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Macedonia (former Yugoslav Republic), Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mayotte, Mexico, Micronesia, Federated States, Moldova, Mongolia, Montserrat, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Niue, Oman, Pakistan, Palau Islands, Palestinian Administered Areas, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, Russia, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia & Montenegro, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, St Helena, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent & Grenadines, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tokelau, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Turks and Caicos Islands, Tuvalu, Uganda, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Wallis and Futuna, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe

How to Apply:

Candidates must send both of the following documents:
  • A full resume/CV including details such as personal information, academic qualifications, English language qualifications, work experience, etc and contact details for 2-4 referees.
  • A 600-700 word typed essay in English (approximately 1-2 sides of A4) on a topic of relevance to the PhD demonstrating a grasp of theoretical debates in this field.
The above documents should be returned, by e-mail if possible, to:

BBSRC-Croda DHPA Applications
Student Wellbeing Service (Financial Support Team)

Newcastle University
6 Kensington Terrace

E-mail: international- scholarships@

Closing Date: The closing date for receipt of applications is Friday, 12 November,

For more info contact:
Student Welfare Service (Financial Support Team)
6 Kensington Terrace
Newcastle upon Tyne

UK Tel: 0191 222 5537 / 5538
Int Tel: +44 191 222 5537 / 5538
UK Fax: 0191 222 6139
Int Fax: +44 191 222 6139

E-mail: international- scholarships@
University Web Site: http://www.ncl.
feedback - phtml

Thanks for the information Ainee.

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