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EPSRC funded PhD studentship - Investigating host cell protein impurities in monoclonal antibody purification.

The studentship will cover tuition fees and provide a stipend at standard Research Council rates (£14,553 for 2017/2018).

This is a four year EPSRC funded project.

Project Title: Investigating protein-protein interactions with application to host cell protein impurities in monoclonal antibody purification.

Protein-protein interactions have important roles in biological processes. However, nonspecific interactions can also occur, which are unwanted and can affect biological systems. This project will use structural bioinformatics approaches to investigate the nature of protein-protein interactions with application to the area of biotherapeutics. Non-specific interactions are a significant problem for the generation of biotherapeutics, such as monoclonal antibodies. Biotherapeutics are synthesised in cell cultures and proteins from the cells interact with the antibodies, such impurities need to be removed for the antibody to be suitable for use in treatment of disease. Host cell proteins represent a significant problem in the purification process as they are diverse representing the range of different proteins present in the host cell.

This project will primarily focus on the use of structural bioinformatics approaches to analyse the interactions of host cell proteins with biotherapeutics with the aim of identifying modifications to the antibodies or the purification processes that will reduce the level of host cell protein impurities. This will be followed up by wet laboratory experiments to validate the findings of the computational research.

The project will be supervised by Dr Mark Wass (University of Kent) and Prof Daniel Bracewell (UCL). The student will primarily be based in the School of Biosciences at the University of Kent and some elements of the project will be completed at UCL.


This project is ideally suited to a student with some experience of bioinformatics or computing. All candidates are expected to have a minimum of an upper 2nd class degree in an appropriate field.

Please note that UK residency criteria apply. To be eligible for a full award a student must have not restrictions on how long they can stay in the UK and have been ordinarily resident in the UK for three years prior to the start of the programme (for EU applicants this includes time spent studying).

How to apply

Applications can be made on-line at http://www.kent.ac.uk/bio/study/postgraduate/applications.html where the project title should be entered as the proposed area of research and Dr Mark Wass as the supervisor.

Please include a CV and cover letter explaining your interest in the project.

Informal enquiries can be addressed to Dr Mark Wass (m.n.wass@kent.ac.uk) or Prof Daniel Bracewell (d.bracewell@ucl.ac.uk) .


The closing date for applications has passed.

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