The Molecular Life Sciences programme, organised by the Bijvoet Centre for Biomolecular Research, aims to provide PhD candidates with a solid and broad knowledge of structural biochemistry. The programme provides research and training opportunities for PhD candidates interested in many areas of structural biology X-ray diffraction, mass spectrometry, proteomics, electron microscopy, solid-state and liquid-state NMR, protein folding and biomembranes. The programme is coordinated by the Bijvoet Centre for Biomolecular Research, which aims to gain insight into the relation, at the molecular level, between the structure and the function and activity of biomolecules that are involved in recognition, interaction, and regulatory processes.
The Molecular Life Science PhD programme is organized by the Bijvoet Center for Biomolecular Research, which consists of the following groups at the Department of Chemistry of the Faculty of Science of Utrecht University:
- Biomolecular Mass Spectrometry & Proteomics (BMS)
- Cellular Protein Chemistry (CPC)
- Membrane Biochemistry and Biophysics (MBB)
- Crystal and Structural Chemistry (CSC)
- Medicinal Chemistry & Chemical Biology (MC)
- NMR spectroscopy (NMR)
- Cryo-Electron Microscopy (Cryo-EM)
In addition, the following groups are also (associate) members of the Bijvoet Center:
- Molecular Cancer Research, UMCU
- Cell Biology, UMCU
- Cell Biology, Department of Biology, Faculty of Science
Discovering the Molecular Basis of Life
The general theme of the research in the Bijvoet Center is discovering how biomolecules function in the human body and in life in general and how the processes and interactions between biomolecules in living cells are affected in patients. This includes, for example, research to understand the cause and potential therapeutic approaches for a disease like cystic fibrosis, which is caused by misfolding of the protein CFTR when it is mutated due to a genetic defect, but the center puts effort in a large diversity of human diseases, both within in the center and together with local, national and international collaborators. The center has expertise that allows for the development of novel technology to study biomolecules, like the analysis of proteins inside cells using NMR spectroscopy, new methods to analyze the dynamics in protein crystals using X-ray diffraction, novel methods for the high-throughput, proteomics based analysis of protein phosphorylation, the development of novel antibiotics, and the development of a new mass spectrometer that allows the analysis of intact protein complexes, including therapeutic antibodies.
Profile of prospective PhD candidates
PhD candidates are expected to be highly motivated, talented, capable of working independently and are generally expected to have an educational background with an emphasis on exact sciences (chemistry, physics, biology) and related fields (e.g. biomedical sciences).
Mission of the training programme
We aim to provide high-quality research training programs for young scientists with an interest in the relationship, at the molecular level, between structure and function/activity of biomolecules that are involved in recognition, interaction, and regulatory processes.