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Advanced atomic force microscopy of DNA minicircles

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  • Full or part time
    Prof B Hoogenboom
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

Project Description

We are inviting applications for a fully funded 4-year PhD project in the area of single-molecule biophysics in Dr Bart Hoogenboom’s research group at the London Centre for Nanotechnology, University College London, and in close collaboration with industrial partner Bruker Nano. This funding stream requires applicants to be home students*.

Our research makes extensive use of atomic force microscopy (AFM) as a tool to visualise individual biological molecules and biomolecular complexes [1,2], and we have recently been the first world-wide to resolve the DNA double helix on single, extended DNA molecules by AFM [3,4].

The project aims to further develop AFM methods for determining the structure of individual biological molecules, to be applied and tested on DNA. We are particularly interested in resolving structures that diverge from the Watson-Crick double helix, such as supercoiled DNA bound to gene repressors, and quadruply stranded DNA that has been shown to regulate the expression of certain oncogenes (making it an attractive target for anticancer drugs). DNA minicircles, as developed by our collaborators in the life sciences, form a particularly attractive model “mini-genome” system to study such structures.

The student will benefit from extensive research and practical training on the interface between physical and life sciences, and with significant exposure to industrial ways of working.

Stage 1: Send a full CV, including the marks (%) for all (undergraduate) modules completed to date and including a clear description of previous research project experience, as well as a covering letter and contact details of two academic referees, to Dr Bart Hoogenboom ([Email Address Removed]). Applications that do not provide this information cannot be considered.

Stage 2: Suitable applicants will be interviewed, and if successful invited to make a formal application.

Funding Notes

This is a fully funded 4-year studentship open to Home/UK students only.

* European Union / EEA nationals who have been ordinarily resident in the UK for a period of at least three years prior to starting the studentship, not including time for higher-education.


[1] Bestembayeva et al. (2015). Nat Nanotechnol, 10 (1), 60-64. doi:10.1038/nnano.2014.262.
[2] Leung et al. (2014). eLife, 3, e04247. doi:10.7554/eLife.04247.
[3] Pyne et al. (2014). Small, 10 (16), 3257-3261. doi:10.1002/smll.201400265.
[4] Leung et al. (2012). Nano Lett, 12 (7), 3846-3850. doi:10.1021/nl301857p

How good is research at University College London in Biological Sciences?
(joint submission with Birkbeck College)

FTE Category A staff submitted: 172.90

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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