We invite applications for a PhD studentship as part of the Doctoral Training Centre in Biofilms Innovation, Technology and Engineering (BITE). The student will perform computational chemistry research at surfaces and interfaces under the supervision of Dr Matthew Dyer and Prof Rasmita Raval at the University of Liverpool.
Biofilms are communities of micro-organisms that stick to each other within a matrix or at a surface and represent the dominant mode of life for bacteria on earth. Biofilms impact on a ~$5 trillion global economic activity and impact on health and major UK industrial sectors. Understanding and controlling the interaction of molecules with the surfaces of inorganic materials is crucial to gaining control of biofilms and to prevent their formation.
Through self-assembly, biologically important molecules from amino acids to peptides and proteins, can be used to pattern the surfaces of inorganic materials and alter their biological activity. Such patterned surfaces provide a controlled route to reproducing the nature of biological binding sites and promoting the selective binding and reactivity of substrates. This project will utilise multi length and time scale computational approaches to study such surfaces, in collaboration with experimental researchers at the University of Liverpool’s Surface Science Research Centre and Open Innovation Hub for Antimicrobial Surfaces.
Strong surface-molecule interactions along with intermolecular hydrogen bonds drive proline molecules to organise in a well-defined pattern on the the Cu(110) surface.
In this project computational and experimental researchers will work together to obtain atomistic length-scale knowledge of relevant systems. The student will perform calculations at different levels of theory (e.g. density functional theory, classical potentials) on surfaces and interfaces which are being studied in parallel by experimental colleagues. These studies will provide a detailed understanding of the molecule/surface interactions and self-assembly processes by using atomistic models to simulate experimental observables such as scanning tunnelling microscope images and vibrational and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopies.
The student will enrol in NBIC’s Doctoral Training Centre which trains interdisciplinary PhD researchers at the Interface of Physical and Life Sciences to understand the behaviour of microbes at surfaces that are central to the global challenges of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), Health, Food Security, Clean Water and Energy. BITE is a world class interdisciplinary partnership between Universities of Liverpool, Edinburgh, Nottingham and Southampton, all core founding partners of the £26.5M National Biofilms Innovation Centre (NBIC).
Eligibility: This position is open to UK or a limited quota of EU students only with the equivalent of at least a 2.1 Honours degree in Physics or Chemistry. An interview will be undertaken with suitable candidates before an offer is made.
Fees and a stipend for 3.5 years will be paid provided eligibility is met.
How to apply: Applicants should apply by e-mailing Lucy Jones (email: [Email Address Removed]).
You should submit an up to date CV and cover letter with names of at least 2 academic referees.
Deadline: 31 October 2023. Candidates will be evaluated as applications are received, and the position may be filled before the deadline if a suitable candidate is identified.