Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions

MSCA-IF: Joint application at the University of Granada. Department of Inorganic Chemistry.

    03/09/2018 08:30 - Europe/Brussels
    H2020 / Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions
    Spain, Granada
    International Research Projects Office
    Promotion and Advisory Unit

Professor Alicia Domínguez Martín, from the Department of Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Granada, welcomes postdoctoral candidates interested in applying for a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowships (MSCA-IF) in 2018 at this University. Please note that applicants must comply with the Mobility Rule (more information: http://sl.ugr.es/09Qg).

Brief description of the institution:

The University of Granada (UGR), founded in 1531, is one of the largest and most important universities in Spain. It serves more than 60000 students per year, including many foreign students, as UGR is the leader host institution in the Erasmus program. UGR, featuring 3650 professors and more than 2000 auxiliary personnel, offers a total of 75 degrees through its 112 departments and 28 centers.

UGR is also a leading institution in research, located in the top 5/10 of Spanish universities by a variety of ranking criteria, such as national R&D projects, fellowships awarded, publications, or international funding. UGR is one of the few Spanish Universities listed in the Shanghai Top 500 ranking (http://www.arwu.org/), and it is also well recognized for its web presence (http://www.4icu.org/top200/).

Internationally, we bet decidedly by our participation in the calls of H2020, both at partner and coordination. For the duration of the Seventh Framework Programme, the UGR has obtained a total of 66 projects, with total funding of 17.97 million euros, and for H2020, until 2015, more than 25 projects with total funding of more than 6 million euros. Our more than 3,000 researchers are grouped into 365 research groups covering all scientific fields and disciplines.

Brief description of the Centre/Research Group

The role of metals in biological systems is a very complex multidisciplinary subject. Europe has been and still is at the forefront of the research on Biological Inorganic Chemistry, specially on the role of metal ions in nucleic acids. Metal complexes with bioinorganic and therapeutic interest is the main focus of the research group FQM283, which is located at the department of inorganic chemistry at the Faculty of Pharmacy. During the past decades our research group has been investigating the metal ion binding properties of nucleobases, purine-like ligands, mainly characterized by X-ray crystallography. Recently, our research has moved one step futher. We have applied all the gained knowledge to the study of synthetic nucleosides and larger DNA/RNA molecules, also extending the analysis of molecular recognition processes from metal ions to metal complexes, which can be functionalised as potential metallodrugs.

Project description

Since the helical structure of double-stranded DNA was published in 1953, several noncanonical architectures have been identified in nucleic acids. Guanine quadruplexes (G4) are secondary non-canonical helical structures formed within guanine rich DNA/RNA sequences when four guanine bases are associated through cyclic Hoogsteen H-bonds. The presence of metal ions is essential for their formation and stabilization. Bioinformatic studies have shown the prevalence of conserved G4-forming sequences in the human genome, mainly in promoter/regulatory regions of DNA/RNA. Research on RNA G4 structures is rather new and results are still scarce. In 2014 the folding of RNA G4 structures in human cells was evidenced. This fact raised many questions regarding the biological meaning of these structures, which is believed to play an important role in the regulation of gene expression. The involvement of RNA G4 in biological processes makes these structures interesting biomolecules for drug targeting, specially for novel cancer therapies, since numerous oncogenes contain G4 motifs.

The proposed project addresses three main aims: (1) To obtain structural information about the fold of one G4 sequence by X-ray diffraction. (2). To synthesize molecules able to interact with G4 motifs, as potential metal-based drugs. (3) To evaluate in vitro or/and in vivo how the latter interaction influence protein translation and therefore their consecuences on tumourogenesis. For this purpose, a multidisciplinary approach, including a wide range of techniques, will be carried out. The expected results will reveal new insights into the structure and the biological meaning of G4 structures and will contribute to novel chemo-terapeutical approches.

Research Area

  • Life Sciences

For a correct evaluation of your candidature, please send the documents below to Professor Alicia Domínguez Martín (adominguez@ugr.es):

  • CV
  • Letter of recommendation (optional)