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Biotechnological approach for the identification of protein-based materials in Cultural Heritage artefacts.

Project Description and Objectives

Many natural organic materials have been used by artists as binders, adhesives or supports, alone or mixed, including for example egg (albumin and ovalbumin), animal glue and skin (collagen), milk (casein), plant resins and drying oils. These organic materials are constituted by proteins, triglycerides, sterols, alcohols, free acids, among others. Due to the relevance of proteinaceous materials in CH artefacts and as artist’s materials, particularly as binders and adhesives, their identification and quantification is of great interest to characterize the artistic technique and for conservation/restoration purposes but, the co-presence of different proteins, environmental contaminants and previous addition of restoring materials make this task particularly difficult to be accomplished.

Driven by the need for a methodology that will enable scientists, conservators and art-historians to distinguish between biological sources of proteinaceous materials; the lack of specific antibodies and the strong conviction that immunological techniques are highly specific and the only reliable solution, this PhD proposes an innovative research protocol focused on the production of specific antibodies with the ultimate objective to create a novel methodology for in-situ identification of protein-based materials in CH artefacts.

This novel approach intends to lead to:
production and characterization of specific antibodies by hybridoma technology;
functionalization of specific antibodies with new synthesized fluorescent compounds;
development of immunological assays to detect the target antigen (e.g. different animal glues);
creation of an immunological kit for in situ identification of protein-based materials in CH artefacts.

Type of Contract and Benefits

The selected ESR 2 will be offered a full-time 36 months employment contract by the University of Evora The contract will include the following allowances:

Living Allowance (LA) = € 2771,01 per month corresponding to the monthly salary for the fellow before any deductions: contributions of both employers and employees to social security, pension, taxation.
Family allowance (FA) = 500€ per month. The LA will be paid only if the recruited ESR has a family* status at the time of recruitment.
Mobility Allowance (MA) = 600€ per month. The MA is a contribution to household, relocation and travel expenses.

*"Family" means persons linked to the researcher by marriage (or a relationship with equivalent status to a marriage recognised by the legislation of the country where this relationship was formalised) or dependent children who are actually being maintained by the researcher.

Doctoral Degree

ESR2 will be awarded a joint Double Doctorate degree by the University of Evora (UEVORA) in cotutelle with the Universitè d'Avignon et des Pays de Vaucluse (UAPV).

ESR2 research project will involve secondments to Universitè d'Avignon et des Pays de Vaucluse (UVP) Additional secondments to ED-ARCHMAT Beneficiaries and/or Partners may be planned according to ESR2 research needs.

Eligibility Criteria

Main Eligibility criteria are indicated in section ADMISSION RULES

ESR 2 Additional Eligibility Criteria
IELTS CERTIFICATE with a minimum score of 5.0 a declaration of having a Ba. and/or M.Sc. degree issued by a University in which courses are taught in English, i.e. "The medium of instruction was English"

ESR2 Specific Requirements

Master (2nd cycle equivalent according to the Bologna Process) issued by an officially recognized academic institution which grants admission to PhD programmes in the country of issuance in one of the following fields: Biochemistry, Conservation Science, Cultural Heritage Studies Foreign academic degrees and diplomas will be validated and recognized by the authorized personnel of the University of Evora and the Université d'Avignon et de Pays de Vaucluse (minimum 12 months) before enrolment in the double PhD degree.


Additional Requirements
Previous experience in one of the following areas will be considered advantageous:
Biodeterioration of CH materials.
Biochemical analysis.

Application Deadline

The deadline for the online submission of completed application forms available under section APPLICATION of the ED-ARCHMAT website is 15th July 2018.

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