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(BBSRC DTP) Smart nanoparticles as doubly responsive sensors for foreign DNA

Department of Materials

Manchester United Kingdom Bioinformatics Other Physical Chemistry Polymer Chemistry Virology

About the Project

There remains a clinical need for simple diagnostic tests which can rapidly and easily identify whether a patient’s sample or a medical device is contaminated with foreign DNA species. Ideally, these should be cheap, simple to perform and rapid. This project will investigate the development of a nanoparticle-based diagnostic which meets these criteria and is doubly responsive to the presence of foreign DNA.

The research conducted will be multidisciplinary and involve a combination of chemical synthesis, materials analysis, and bioscience. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to work with cutting-edge research facilities in the Department of Materials and Henry Royce Institute Hub at The University of Manchester.

Entry Requirements
Applicants must have obtained, or be about to obtain, at least an upper second class honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject.

UK applicants interested in this project should make direct contact with the Principal Supervisor to arrange to discuss the project further as soon as possible. International applicants (including EU nationals) must ensure they meet the academic eligibility criteria (including English Language) as outlined before contacting potential supervisors to express an interest in their project. Eligibility can be checked via the University Country Specific information page (

If your country is not listed you must contact the Doctoral Academy Admissions Team providing a detailed CV (to include academic qualifications – stating degree classification(s) and dates awarded) and relevant transcripts.

Following the review of your qualifications and with support from potential supervisor(s), you will be informed whether you can submit a formal online application.

To be considered for this project you MUST submit a formal online application form - full details on how to apply can be found on the BBSRC DTP website

Funding Notes

Funding will cover UK tuition fees/stipend only. The University of Manchester aims to support the most outstanding applicants from outside the UK. We are able to offer a limited number of scholarships that will enable full studentships to be awarded to international applicants. These full studentships will only be awarded to exceptional quality candidates, due to the competitive nature of this scheme.

Equality, diversity and inclusion is fundamental to the success of The University of Manchester, and is at the heart of all of our activities. The full Equality, diversity and inclusion statement can be found on the website View Website


[1] Wu, S., Zhu, M., Lu, D., Milani, A. H., Lian, Q., Fielding, L. A., Derry, M. J., Armes, S. P., Adlam, D. J., Hoyland, J. A., Saunders, B. S., (2019). Self-curing super-stretchable polymer/microgel complex coacervate gels without covalent bond formation. Chemical Science, 10, 8832-8839.
[2] Cagno, V., Andreozzi, P., D’Alicarnasso, M., Silva, P.J., Mueller, M.; Galloux, M., Le Goffic, R., Jones, S.T., Vallino, M., Hodek, J., Weber, J., Soumyo, S., Janeček, E-R., Bekdemir, A., Sanavio, B., Martinelli, C., Donalisio, M. Welti, M-A. R., Eleouet, J-F., Han, Y.; Kaiser, L., Vukovic, L., Tapparel, C., Kral, P., Krol, S., Lembo, D., Stellacci, F., (2018). Broad-spectrum non-toxic antiviral nanoparticles with a virucidal inhibition mechanism. Nature Materials, 17, 195-203.
[3] Kaman, W. E., Andrinopoulou, E.-R. & Hays, J. P., (2013). Perceptions of point-of-care infectious disease testing among European medical personnel, point-of-care test kit manufacturers, and the general public. Patient Preference and Adherence, 7, 559–577.
[4] Appel, E., Tibbitt, M., Webber, M., Mattix B. A., Veiseh, O., Langer, R., (2015). Self-assembled hydrogels utilizing polymer–nanoparticle interactions. Nature communications, 6, 6295.

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