PhD Studentenship in Biochemistry, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom

Expires on: 01/04/2024

  • Description:Summary

    The origin of cell membranes is a major unresolved issue in evolution. Evolutionary biology points to the existence of primitive cells with compositionally diverse membranes. However, the assumption that such lipid diversity is dependent upon enzymatic chemistry has generated models comprising compositionally minimal membranes (binary or ternary mixtures of short-chain fatty or phosphatidic acids). This project aims to reconcile biology and chemistry by challenging the critical limiting assumption that lipid diversity cannot be achieved through non-enzymatic chemistries. The project will lead to a fundamental understanding of the origins of lipid diversity, including the features now associated with bacterial and archaeal lipids; new strategies based on compositionally diverse membranes to probe, sense or replicate cellular behaviours; and a deep-rooted understanding of the emergence and evolution of cellular processes at the molecular level.


    To apply, please e-mail Dr Claudia Bonfio ( with the following information by 4 January 2024:

    ·        CV (max two pages), with full contact details of 2 academic referees.

    ·        Motivation letter (max two pages) highlighting (a) your research interests, (b) what you hope to achieve from the programme, and (c) why you wish to undertake this PhD. 

    Please note that applicants are also required to officially apply to the University using the Applicant Portal: by the deadline of 4 January 2024.  Please search in the Course Directory for ‘Biochemistry’ PhD (Course Code: BLBI22) as the programme of study. Applicants should indicate on the application form that they wish to apply for other sources of funding.

Field: Biochemistry

Qualification: Masters

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