Professor-Chris-Hawes-FRMS-memorial-PhD-studentship: Protein production and transport in the plant ER-NE continuum

Professor-Chris-Hawes-FRMS-memorial-PhD-studentship: Protein production and transport in the plant ER-NE continuum

Job Description


Job Title: Professor-Chris-Hawes-FRMS-memorial-PhD-studentship: Protein production and transport in the plant ER-NE continuum                                             
Accountable to:

Department of Biological and Medical Sciences

Responsible for Oxford Brookes University
Appointment: September 2021
Bursary p.a.: Bursary equivalent to UKRI national minimum stipend plus fees (2020/21 bursary is £15, 285)

Location Oxford, United Kingdom
Overview of Oxford Brookes University:

Oxford Brookes University is one of the leading modern universities in the UK. Located in an inspiring city, where students make up around 20% of the adult population, Oxford Brookes welcomes nearly 18,000 students from more than 140 different countries each year.

As the only UK university in the QS world rankings of top 50 institutions under 50 years old (QS, 2020) and among the world elite in 12 individual subject areas (QS, 2019), Oxford Brookes enjoys an international reputation for teaching excellence and innovation.

Oxford Brookes has strong links with business and industry providing exceptional hands-on learning opportunities and connections with employers, ensuring that 95 % of our graduates are in work and/or further study six months after graduating (HESA, 2018).

Oxford Brookes provides top-quality support services to help every student achieve their best academically and personally. We continue to invest in our multi-award-winning facilities – to build facilities that are fit for purpose and enhance the student experience. Oxford Brookes is an exciting place to learn, study and live.

At Oxford Brookes you’ll be joining an innovative, diverse student community where you'll be supported to flourish and develop the skills you need to embrace your future.

Overview of the project:

This studentship is offered in memory of Professor Chris Hawes FRMS, formerly Professor of Plant Cell Biology and Director of the Oxford Brookes Bioimaging Unit.

The potential for improving intracellular protein production and transport is of vital importance in addressing global research challenges linked to food security and climate change. Therefore, understanding the structure and function of the plant endomembrane system is key. This project focusses on the plant Endoplasmic Reticulum (ER) - Nuclear Envelope (NE) continuum, which is a large endomembrane system involved in vital cellular and nuclear functions. These include synthesis and distribution of proteins as well as signaling and cell division processes. Employing cutting edge microscopy and associated techniques, at the core of this project lies the exciting opportunity of investigating the importance of the molecular mechanisms in plant protein production and transport.


The project will employ a wide range of imaging and wet lab methodologies, with particular emphasis being placed on the use of high-resolution confocal imaging techniques of living plant cells expressing fluorescent NE and ER components, including single particle movement, FRAP and FRET to examine protein interactions. Specifically, transient and stable transformation of tobacco and Arabidopsis plants will be employed to express marker proteins allowing for protein production, secretion as well as unfolded protein response analysis. This will allow for the use of electron microscopy to examine plant ultrastructure using specialised imaging analysis software.

For informal inquiries please contact Drs Kriechbaumer ( and Graumann (


Applicants should have a first or upper second class honours degree from a Higher Education Institution in the UK or acceptable equivalent qualification in biological science or related discipline.

EU Applicants must have a valid IELTS Academic test certificate (or equivalent) issued in the last 2 years by an approved test centre with an overall minimum score of 7.0 and no score below 6.0.


Application Process

Applications should be sent to and should include the following application form:
Download the form