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Cryptochrome magnetoreception amplified by three-spin quantum correlation, Physics – PhD (Funded) Ref: 3597

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  • Full or part time
    Dr D Kattnig
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Academic Supervisors:

Dr Daniel Kattnig, University of Exeter

Dr Aurélien de la Lande, University Paris Sud


Project Description:

Birds and a few other species utilize the geomagnetic field as a pervasive source of navigational information. This remarkable feat is believed to rely on quantum spin dynamics of radical pairs, which are formed transiently in the protein cryptochrome.

According to the standard hypothesis, the magnetosensitivity is associated with the photo-reduction process of the flavin cofactor. However, recent experimental and theoretical studies challenge this long-held view and attribute the magnetosensitivity to a reoxidation process. To resolve this inconsistency, we have suggested a new mechanism of magnetoreception that relies on three-radical effects. The new scheme offers a greatly enhanced sensitivity to the geomagnetic field and immunisation to fast decoherence processes. This project seeks to build realistic three-radical models parametrised on advanced microscopic simulations of spin dynamics and electron transfer processes. It will enable new, precise, molecular navigational systems that utilize the reoxidation of cryptochrome by air and function in the dark.

This award provides annual funding to cover UK/EU tuition fees and a tax-free stipend. For students who pay UK/EU tuition fees the award will cover the tuition fees in full, plus at least £15,009 per year tax-free stipend.

Location: Physics, Streatham Campus, Exeter, UK and University Paris Sud, France

Funding Notes

The University of Exeter’s College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, in partnership with University Paris Sud, is inviting applications for a fully-funded PhD studentship to commence in September 2019 or as soon as possible thereafter. This Dstl-funded program is open to UK or French nationals, who are interested to spend at least one year at the de la Lande lab at the University Paris Sud. For eligible students the studentship will cover UK/EU tuition fees plus an annual tax-free stipend of at least £15,009 for 3.5 years full-time, or pro rata for part-time study.



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