Employment Opportunities
Postdoctoral Position

Department of Biochemistry, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

A postdoctoral position is available immediately in the laboratory of George Ordal at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to study the role of proteins and their interactions during chemotaxis in the Gram positive bacterium Bacillus subtilis.

Background and Research Program: Binding of attractant molecules to an array of membrane or cytoplasmic receptors, causes activation of a kinase to phosphorylate itself. The main response regulator then becomes phosphorylated and binds to a complex of switch proteins to cause counterclockwise rotation of the flagella so that the bacteria will tend to continue forward motion toward higher concentrations of attractant. However, immediately, several processes are set in motion to extinguish the excitatory signal (that is, dephosphorylate the main response regulator) and to stop activation of the kinase ("adaptation"). In B. subtilis both processes involve unique proteins that are not found in the well-studied paradigm organism, Escherichia coli, but that are found in many archaea and other bacteria. Genomic analysis indicates that the B. subtilis mechanism may be similar to that found in the ancestral organism that existed shortly before the separation of the bacteria and the archaea in early evolutionary time and thus might be a useful paradigm mechanism for understanding where present-day mechanisms in many bacteria and archaea came from.
Current research projects in the laboratory include understanding how the receptors interact with CheV, one of the adaptation proteins, how CheC, one of the proteins involved in extinguishing the excitatory signal, works, how FliY, one of the switch proteins that also helps set the ratio of counterclockwise and clockwise rotation of the flagella, works, how CheD, which both stimulates CheC and covalently modifies the receptors, works, and how receptor methylation affects its ability to activate the kinase.


George W. Ordal
190 Medical Sciences Bldg.
506 S. Mathews Ave.
Urbana, IL 61801
217 333 9098

Potential projects include investigating structure and function of receptor complexes with kinases and coupling proteins, modeling of chemotactic responses based on quantitating binding constants, kinetic constants, and amounts of respective chemotaxis proteins, and exploring interacting surfaces of proteins that bind each other and the effect of altering these on function.
Our research is funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health that was competitively renewed June 1.

Location: The laboratory is located in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a world-class research university. Urbana-Champaign is a charming college town in central Illinois with an easy lifestyle, low cost of living, and many cultural amenities. It is located within driving distance of Chicago, St. Louis, and Indianapolis.

Qualifications: Doctoral degree and research experience in biochemistry, molecular biology, or microbiology. Address letters of inquiry, accompanied by a full CV and list of the names and contact information for three references, to:

George W. Ordal, Ph.D.
Professor of Biochemistry
190 Medical Sciences Bldg.
506 S. Mathews
Urbana, IL 61801, USA

E-mail contact is welcome. My e-mail address is: ordal@uiuc.edu

For additional information, see the Ordal lab site: http://www.life.uiuc.edu/ordal/index.htm
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer.

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