PhD Studentship: Molecular mechanisms of membrane proteins
Design and Characterization of Bio-inspired Nanosensors Engineered by Assembly of
Receptors and Ion Channels
The subject. We have devised a novel type of bio-inspired sensors, Ion-Channel Coupled Receptors
(ICCR), based on the fusion of receptors with an ion channel serving as an electrical probe. Binding of
a ligand to the receptor triggers opening of the associated ion channel and an increased ion flux that is
easily detectable using existing techniques. This concept was validated by the creation of ICCRs
between a potassium channel and several G-protein coupled receptors (GPCR) [cf. Moreau et al, 2008,
Nature Nanotech 3:620-5].
The thesis shall concern the structure-function study of receptor-channel interactions in existing ICCRs
and on the design and construction of new ICCRs. Work will involve molecular engineering, biophysics,
and bioinformatics. It should establish the foundation of high-performance bioelectrical sensors while
providing a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms of GPCR activation and ion channel
Although this project has a strong biotechnological flavor, the approach shall remain very fundamental
with a strong focus on the structure and function of membrane proteins and on their interactions.
The place. The thesis will take place in the Channels lab within the Membrane Proteins Dept of the
Institute for Structural Biology (www.ibs.fr/laboratories/membrane-protein-lab-lpm/transportersreceptors-
and-ion). The Channels lab focuses on ion channels and membrane protein engineering and
is recognized for its work on K-ATP channel and proteic biosensors.
IBS is a renowned institute in the field of structural and molecular biology. It is part of the Grenoble
scientific polygon with numerous research intitutes and colleges as well as several large instruments
such as the European Synchrotron. The site offers a stimulating scientific environment in the natural
surroundings of the French Alps.
The candidate. Strong academic background. Experience or interest in molecular biology,
electrophysiology, or bioinformatics.
The granting agency (CEA) will only consider candidates with top-tier academic records. There are no
other restrictive conditions and foreigners can, and should, apply.
The position. The position is for three years starting in October 2010. The salary is very competitive
Send a one-page CV to Michel Vivaudou (email@example.com). A full-fledged application will be