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Regulation of Ubiquitin chain assembly

A postgraduate research opportunity at the University of Otago.


Academic background
Sciences, Health Sciences
Host campus
Professor Catherine Day


Assembly of ubiquitin chains is a key process that regulates many cell signalling pathways. Research in the Day laboratory is focused on understanding how the machinery that builds these chains works.

In this project you will study an unusual family of ubiquitin E3 ligases that not only build ubiquitin chains, but are also regulated by ubiquitin. Our goal is to understand how a number of different ubiquitin binding sites, as well as other motifs, cooperate to regulate activity. Using a combination of molecular biology, biochemical assays and x-ray crystallography you will identify the molecular basis of ubiquitin transfer by these proteins.

This project builds on research previously undertaken in my laboratory and many reagents/tools are available. Understanding the mechanisms of ubiquitin transfer is a very exciting area of research and this project will prepare you for a future in biomedical science.


This project is fully funded by a Marsden Fund Grant and provides an opportunity for a PhD student 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 or email

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 molecular biology, as well as protein expression and purification experience. Excellent communication skills, a willingness to work in a team, and the ability to plan and interpret experiments in an independent manner are important attributes.

Funding Notes

This project is fully funded by a Marsden Grant, with funding including an annual stipend of $27,000, registration fees and consumable costs.

Email your application to, include the following in your application:

  1. a copy of your CV,
  2. a copy of your academic transcript,
  3. a short motivation statement (~500 words), and
  4. a pdf copy of your research thesis.

Applicants must be New Zealand citizens or currently reside in New Zealand and be eligible for admission to the PhD programme at the University of Otago. A start date before April 2021 would be ideal.
Regulations for admission to PhD programme.
Formal english language requirements can be found on the University of Otago website.


Prof Catherine Day