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Structural and functional studies of nickel transporters from pathogenic bacteria

  • Master
  • Doctorate
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • With scholarship

Project description

The ability of pathogenic microorganisms to scavenge essential nutrients within their hosts is a fundamental requirement for pathogenicity. The battle for these nutrients represents an important element of the host – pathogen interaction; interfering with the nutrient-uptake ability of bacteria represents a promising therapeutic approach. Helicobacter pylori is one of the most successful human pathogens, causing gastric cancers and ulcers. H. pylori colonizes the stomach of 50% of the worldwide population where the pathogen survival relies on its ability to scavenge nickel ions from the gastric milieu. Nickel is considered an important virulence determinant of H. pylori; nickel ions are co-factors of two essential H. pylori metalloenzymes required for the colonization of its host. Hence, H. pylori has acquired a conserved core of dedicated nickel uptake and trafficking proteins unique to this bacterium, that emphasizes its absolute requirement for nickel.

The Masters or PhD project consists in investigating the structure-function relationship of the nickel transporters and nickel-homeostasis proteins. The MSc or PhD student will use multidisciplinary approaches combining molecular biology, protein biochemistry, structural biology, electrophysiology and bioinformatics to dissect the molecular mechanism of nickel transport across the outer and inner membranes of the pathogen. Structures of nickel transporters will be helpful in the design of specific inhibitors to treat infections of H. pylori.

Research fields

  • Structural Biolog
  • X-ray crystallography
  • Molecular biology
  • Microbiology
  • Mass spectrometry

Research advisor

Charles Calmettes, professor

Starting date

Fall 2021 or winter 2022

Study program

Master’s degree in applied microbiology (French description) or doctorate in biology (French description)

Financial support

INRS offers many scholarship programs. Every student-researcher benefits from a grant during their higher education studies.


The candidate should have a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree (or equivalent for the Ph.D program) depending on the program of interest. Experience in molecular biology (cloning, mutagenesis), expression/purification of proteins, protein biochemistry (electrophoresis, enzymology), proteoliposomes, membrane proteins, and structural biology would be an asset. The candidate must master English (oral and writing).


Armand Frappier Santé Biotechnologie Research Centre
531, boulevard des Prairies
Laval, Québec G3X 1S2

How to apply

Interested persons can submit their application to Charles Calmettes in a single PDF file by using the online form. The application must include:

  • Motivation letter (maximum 1 page) describing their research interests
  • Complete CV
  • The name of three contact information for further reference.
Published - Project Charles Calmettes - Structural and functional studies of nickel transporters ...

Project title : Structural and functional studies of nickel transporters from pathogenic bacteria

Curriculum vitæ *

Maximum file size: 5MB

Academic transcript *

Maximum file size: 5MB

Letter of interests *

Maximum file size: 5MB

How did you hear about this study project?


Charles Calmettes
Phone: 450-687-5010 extesion 8885