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Design and synthesis of linker molecules for attaching proteins to surfaces


Department of Chemistry

York United Kingdom Biochemistry Bioinformatics Organic Chemistry Chemistry

About the Project

Background: Surface-to-protein attachments are important across a range of industrial applications including medical devices, biocatalysis and laundry detergents (https://chemistry-europe.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/chem.201800750). We have recently described a methodology for attaching proteins to surfaces via oxidised sugars on their surfaces (https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.langmuir.9b01254). We now wish to extend this work to enable us to immobilise bio-fuel metalloenzymes such as hydrogen-producing hydrogenases and ammonia-producing nitrogenases onto photoactive semi-conductors via specific amino acid residues so that we can build light-driven fuel producing devices.

Objectives: Synthesise a range of new molecular linkers that have different bio-orthogonal "head-groups" to enable selective covalent bonding with a range of amino acids, and a "tail-group" that can be attached to an electrode via diazonium chemistry. Use molecular biology techniques which the Parkin group have developed (https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jacs.7b03611 and https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2016/cc/c6cc00515b#!divAbstract) to produce mutant hydrogenase molecules with surface amino acids that will react with the linkers, and prove that this allows electroactive attachment of the enzyme onto gold, silver, titanium dioxide and silicon surfaces. Test for photo-driven hydrogen production. Extend this work to nitrogenase enzymes.

Training: The Parkin group are located within the Departmental Chemical Biology facility providing access to the necessary suite of chemical synthesis, protein production and glove box electrochemistry set-ups. Training will be provided in the use of all equipment. All Chemistry research students have access to our innovative Doctoral Training in Chemistry (iDTC): cohort-based training to support the development of scientific, transferable and employability skills: https://www.york.ac.uk/chemistry/postgraduate/training/idtc/

The Department of Chemistry holds an Athena SWAN Gold Award and is committed to supporting equality and diversity for all staff and students. The Department strives to provide a working environment which allows all staff and students to contribute fully, to flourish, and to excel: https://www.york.ac.uk/chemistry/ed/.

You should hold or expect to achieve the equivalent of at least a UK upper second class degree in Chemistry or a related subject. Please check the entry requirements for your country: https://www.york.ac.uk/study/international/your-country/

For more information about the project, click on the supervisor’s name above to email the supervisor. For more information about the application process or funding, please click on email institution


Funding Notes

This project is available to students from any country who can fund their own studies.

The Department of Chemistry at the University of York is pleased to offer Wild Fund Scholarships. Applications are welcomed from those who meet the PhD entry criteria from any country outside the UK. Scholarships will be awarded on supervisor support, academic merit, country of origin, expressed financial need and departmental strategy. For further details and deadlines, please see our website: View Website

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