Vacancy: Research Chair (Biotechnology)
Closing date: 23 August 2019
The Nanobiotechnology Research Group in the Department of Biotechnology at the University of the Western Cape herewith invites potential students to enrol for an NRF-funded PhD or MSc degree to develop drug delivery systems for obesity. If interested, you may start either in the second semester of 2019 or the beginning of January 2020.
Obesity is a complex metabolic disease that poses serious public health problems worldwide. It is a risk factor for various life threatening chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease, hypertension, dyslipidemia, atherosclerosis and osteoarthritis. Treatment of obesity using anti-obesity drugs, is limited by their non-specificity, and most of them have been withdrawn from the market due to severe adverse side effects. Therefore, there is an urgent need for the development of safe and effective drugs and treatment approaches in order to curb the obesity epidemic.
Our lab and others have shown that inhibiting angiogenesis by targeting a protein expressed on dysfunctional cells lining the blood vessels represents a promising strategy for obesity treatment. However, this strategy is limited by the use of only one targeting peptide. Thus, we want to discover other novel, specific and selective targeting agents to use for obesity treatment.
An in vivo model of obesity will be used to isolate potential targeting molecules. These agents will further be validated in cell culture for use as active targeting agents for obesity treatment. The selected agents will then be used to develop drug delivery systems for obesity treatment.
Studentships (MSc and PhD) with bursary funding for South African citizens are available. Experience in either cell biology, histology, biochemistry, microbiology, pharmacy or molecular biology (especially PCR) is required.
The Nanobiotechnology Research Group in the Biotechnology Department at the University of the University of the Western Cape herewith invites potential students to enrol for THRIP-funded PhD or MSc degree to develop nano-enabled wound dressing for chronic wounds and burns. If interested, you may start either in the second semester of 2019, or the beginning of January 2020.
An effective and complete process of wound healing is critical for the general well-being of patients, including burn victims and people living with diabetes. Current clinical treatments of wounds and ulcers, including topical antimicrobial agents, while useful, are ineffective against resistant microorganisms. The increasing prevalence of burns and chronic wounds raises the need for development of novel antimicrobial and wound healing agents that do not suffer the same fate. Recent development in nanotechnology for medical and pharmaceutical applications provide great opportunities for improving chronic wound treatments.
Our lab intends to use nanotechnology and plant biodiversity for the production of nanoparticles, and study their cellular and molecular effects during wound healing, in order to improve future therapeutic interventions. In turn, these novel nanotechnology-based materials will be incorporated in advanced medical devices. The incumbent student will participate in industry-related development activities for the production of the nano-enabled devices.
Studentships (MSc and PhD) with bursary funding for South African citizens are available for 3 years. Experience in either nanotechnology, cell biology, histology, biochemistry, microbiology or molecular biology is required.
The Institute for Microbial Biotechnology and Metagenomics (IMBM) is a leading research unit based within the Department of Biotechnology at the University of the Western Cape (UWC). Our research employs culture-based approaches as well as cutting edge ”omics” strategies to study microbiomes and identify novel biosynthetic gene clusters and metabolites. The Institute focuses on the research and development of novel, high - value natural products for the pharmaceutical, cosmeceutical, food and beverage and agricultural industries, as well as products for industrial processes.
TWO POSTDOCTORAL FELLOWSHIPS AVAILABLE:
2. We are developing a portfolio of biosurfactants for use in a variety of industrial processes. The project involves the isolation and characterisation (chemical, structural and performance) of novel biosurfactants, as well as the upscaling of biosurfactant production.
Applicants must have completed a PhD degree within no more than 5 years in a foundational discipline relevant to the topic. Experience in natural product discovery and genomics is an advantage. Applicants should have a strong publication record, interpersonal skills, project management experience, and be able to effectively conduct research as part of a multi-disciplinary team.
THE CLOSING DATE FOR APPLICATIONS IS 9 January 2019.
Professor Chrissie Rey
The National Gene Expression and Biotechnology Training Workshop has been a highly successful annual training course for postgraduate students seeking supplementary grounding in the principles and application of molecular and cell biology techniques. About 100 students from 11 different universities have participated so far. There is no application fee, and lodging and board are free of charge. Thirty applicants will be selected for the 2016 session. Applications should be submitted online HERE.
L-carnitine, a medically relevant, amino acid-derived molecule is a valuable target for biotechnological production. Researchers at the Institute for Wine Biotechnology, Stellenbosch University has recently provided the first report of a metabolically engineered carnitine producing strain of the industrial yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, an organism that does not natively produce its own carnitine. This was achieved by cloning and reconstructing the Neurospora crassa L-carnitine biosynthesis pathway in the baker’s yeast to create an L-carnitine producing strain. The engineered yeast strains are able to catalyze the synthesis of L-carnitine from the pathway’s precursor, trimethyllysine, as well as from intermediates. Several native S. cerevisiae genes were identified that contribute to, or interfere with, the heterologous pathway. This includes (i) the threonine aldolase Gly1p which effectively catalyzed the second step of the pathway, fulfilling the role of a serine hydroxymethyltransferase, (ii) the arginine transporter Can1p which was identified as the yeast transporter for trimethyllysine, and (iii) the two serine hydroxymethyltransferases, Shm1p and Shm2p, which reduced the flux through the heterologous pathway. The work opens opportunities for using an engineered, L-carnitine producing S. cerevisiae strain in various industrial applications.
The Public Understanding of Biotechnology (PUB) programme is celebrating 10 years of informing the South African public on issues of biotechnology.
A conference on “Structural Biology for the Bioeconomy: Infectious Diseases and Biotechnology” will be held at the University of Cape Town from 1 December to 2012 to 4 December 2012. The conference will immediately precede the annual conference of the Microscopy Society of Southern Africa (4-7 December 2012) and will be held in the same venue on the University of Cape Town campus. The conference website is http://www.sbbe.co.za and more about the organisers can be found here: http://www.sbbe.co.za/structural-biology-conference-organisers/