Postdoctoral Researcher in Molecular Biology/Post-genome Technologies at University of Liverpool

Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Researcher to work on the identification, cloning and heterologous expression of the genes encoding the enzymes catalysing the four steps of the important pathway of plant sterol dealkylation to cholesterol in insects.

The project will involve a range of post-genomic technologies, including bioinformatics and proteomics.

Most species of invertebrate animals cannot synthesise sterols (e.g. cholesterol) and rely on a dietary source.

Plant pest insects and plant parasitic nematodes obtain their sterols (e.g. sitosterol) from the plants.

Without chemical modification, these plant sterols cannot satisfy the sterol requirement for normal growth of the invertebrates, which have a specific need for a cholesterol-like sterol.

Thus, such organisms must dealkylate plant sterols (e.g. sitosterol, C29) to yield cholesterol (C27).

Most studies of the dealkylation pathway have been undertaken in plant-pest insects, as well as in the model nematode species, Caernorhabditis elegans.

The conversion (dealkylation) of sitosterol to cholesterol occurs via a four-step pathway, which has been demonstrated in the microsomal membranes in insect midgut.

The current project aims to clone and characterise the genes encoding the four enzymes catalysing the dealkylation reactions from the silkworm, Bombyx mori and to model the proteins.

You will join a particularly active multi-disciplinary laboratory within a modern, well equipped building, that incorporates Core Facilities in post-genomic technologies, including Non-Invasive Cell Imaging, Functional Proteomics, Transcriptomics, Transgenic Plants and Structural Biology (biological NMR).

You should have (or be about to obtain) a Ph.D. in an appropriate biological science and experience of molecular biology is essential.

The post is funded by The Leverhulme Trust for up to two years, commencing as soon as possible.

Informal enquiries prior to application may be made to Prof H H Rees (

For full details, or to request an application pack, visit or e-mail ;

Tel: 0151 794 2210 (24 hr answerphone), please quote Ref: B/991 in all enquiries

Application Deadline: 04 May

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