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Two PhD positions in Protein Biochemistry

A postgraduate research opportunity at the University of Otago.


Academic background
Sciences, Health Sciences
Host campus
Professor Catherine Day


Two talented PhD candidates interested in studying the biochemical properties of ubiquitin E3-ligases are being recruited to join Catherine Day’s laboratory in the Biochemistry Department, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.

More details about research in the Day laboratory are available on the Day Lab webpage

Project 1

You will investigate how ubiquitin binding sites on a RING E3 ligase influence the assembly of ubiquitin chains. The broad aim of this project is to elucidate the molecular details that regulate ubiquitin attachment, with a focus on revealing features that promote assembly of ubiquitin chains. This builds on research in my laboratory as well as others, which have shown that ubiquitin binding domains can enhance chain assembly.

Project 2

In this project, you will study a RING E3 ligase with the goal of identifying the domains and interactions that are required for ubiquitin transfer. Many E3s have not yet been characterised and are likely to be regulated in different ways. This project builds on ongoing research in our laboratory and provides an opportunity to characterise a novel E3.

Both projects aim to understand the molecular details that regulate ubiquitin attachment, and offer opportunities to start a career in an exciting and important area of research. Assay systems and many reagents that underpin these projects are available.

Highly motivated individuals with a BSc(Hons) or MSc in Molecular Biology, Biochemistry, or related discipline are encouraged to apply. The ideal candidates will have practical knowledge in expression construct design and optimization, as well as protein purification. Experience in analysis of ubiquitin, structure determination methods and other biophysical methods is an advantage. Excellent communication skills, willingness to work in a team, and the ability to plan and interpret experiments in an independent manner are important attributes. The ability to communicate proficiently in English is essential.

Formal english language requirements can be found on the University of Otago website

Funding Notes

All applicants will apply for Otago University scholarships, however Professor Day also has one grant-funded scholarship available.

Include in your application:
(i) a copy of your CV,
(ii) a copy of your academic transcript,
(iii) a short motivation statement (~500 words), and
(iv) a pdf copy of your research thesis.

The ability to communicate proficiently in english is essential.

Applicants must be eligible for admission to the PhD programme at the University of Otago and be eligible for a scholarship. A GPA of equivalent to an Otago GPA of 8.0 or greater is essential.

See details of the Otago PhD scholarships on the university website.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, some restrictions may be in place. Visit for ongoing updates:
- International students


Professor Catherine Day