Tuesday 19 May 2015

Honours and undergrad research opportunities (deadlines soon!)

There are several research opportunities for students in the Edwards Lab with deadlines coming up:

  1. Mid-session Honours entry. Deadline: 4pm Friday 1st of June. Please see the BABS website for more information.

  2. BABS3301 Biomolecular Science Laboratory Project (Advanced) course. (See below.)

  3. BABS Second-year student internships. Deadline: COB Friday 22/5/2015.

The lab has a number of projects available, of which three examples are listed below. I am happy to discuss other bioinformatics project options around the general theme of sequence analysis and/or protein-protein interactions. There are also some website/software engineering projects available.

Research focus

Applying biological sequence analysis and molecular evolution to study the molecular basis of protein-protein interactions.

Suitable for students who have majored in Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Microbiology or Genetics. Projects are 100% computational; would suit students with computer programming experience and an interest in molecular evolution, or vice versa.

Example projects

Project 1: Molecular mimicry in host-pathogen interactions Many viruses hijack host cellular machinery through the molecular mimicry of host Short Linear Motifs (SLiMs). It is likely that pathogenic bacteria may employ similar strategies. This project will apply state-of-the-art SLiM prediction tools developed in our lab to published datasets of host-pathogen protein-protein interactions. This will help us understand how pathogens mess with their hosts – and how to stop them!

Project 2: Mining cancer genomics for disease mutations that disrupt protein function SLiMs tend to be involved in low affinity interactions and have a small number of amino acid residues that are required for function. These attributes make them potential sites of mutations that slightly disrupt cellular function, sometimes only in specific genetic backgrounds or environments. This project will combine methods for proteome-wide SLiM prediction with human genomics data and genetic variants associated with disease. This will focus on mutations in cancers, which affect many of the same pathways targeted by molecular mimicry in viruses.

Project 3: Yeast as a model for protein interaction dynamics In addition to giving us bread and beer, the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae is an awesome eukaryotic model organism. This project will compare proteinprotein interactions in humans and yeast to learn how both organisms exploit SLiMs and post-translational modifications to dynamically control the complex inner workings of their cells.

BABS3301 Biomolecular Science Laboratory Project

Students with a WAM of 75 or more who are enrolled in a Biochemistry, Genetics or Molecular Biology major in one of the BSc, BSc(Adv) or BMedSc programs should consider enrolling in the BABS3301 (Biomolecular Science Laboratory Project (Advanced) course. This course is designed to introduce you to research methodology, and to stimulate critical and lateral thinking in the context of problem solving. The course involves directed reading, laboratory work and use of internet resources. You will work on a research project under the supervision of a member of the academic staff. Enrolment in this course is by invitation and is based on academic performance and is restricted to Science and Advanced students enrolled in one of the BABS majors (i.e. Biotechnology, Genetics, Microbiology, Molecular Biology and Cellular Biology Major or Plans or the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Genetics or Microbiology and Immunology specialisations).

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