This project is sponsored by the Institute of Chemical Biology EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training and BASF
Professor Marina Kuimova (Department of Chemistry, ICL)
Dr Markus Rueckel (BASF)
Dr Nick Brooks (Department of Chemistry, ICL)
The effectiveness of pesticides (including herbicides, fungicides and insecticides) for crop protection crucially depends on the permeability of the formulation’s active ingredient across various leaf layers and membranes. Chemical adjuvants are often used to soften the top wax layer of the leaf and enable herbicide transport across this protective barrier. In practice the link between active ingredient uptake, wax softness and/or permeability and the effectiveness of a herbicide is very challenging to measure. Engineering effective adjuvants and understanding the gains and losses in efficacy are, therefore, significant agrotech challenges.
This project is a collaboration between BASF and the Institute of Chemical Biology EPSTC Centre for Doctoral Training, and will develop a suite of novel methods to measure wax softening and permeability in two complementary ways:
- direct imaging of permeability of highly controllable wax barrier in droplet interface bilayer tool; and,
- via directly imaging of wax viscosity using environmentally sensitive molecular rotors and advanced optical microscopy.
Recruitment will continue until the post is filled.
The entry requirement is a degree in the physical sciences with a minimum 2.1 or above (or equivalent).
Chemistry, physics, mathematics and engineering graduates who wish to learn how to apply their physical sciences skills to biological problems. Students from biological or medicinal backgrounds are usually not eligible. If in doubt, please contact us
We are able to accept both ‘Home’ fee status and ‘Overseas’ fee status applicants for this project. Please see our Eligibility Criteria webpage for more detailed information.
About the ICB CDT
Successful applicants to this project will be part of 2023 entry cohort of the EPSRC CDT in Chemical Biology: Innovation for the Life Sciences. The aim of the ICB CDT, one of the longest standing CDTs in the UK, is to train students in the art of multidisciplinary Chemical Biology research, giving them the exciting opportunity to develop the next generation of molecular tools and technologies for making, measuring, modelling and manipulating molecular interactions in biological systems.
Applicants to this programme will enrol on a 1 year MRes in Chemical Biology and Bioentrepreneurship, followed by a 3 year PhD, building on the research project from the MRes. For further information, please see our studentship webpages.
Successful applicants, both Home and International, will be awarded a fully funded studentship. This includes:
- Annual National Minimum Doctoral Stipend, currently £17,668 + £2000 London allowance for 2022/23
- Annual Tuition fees at either the Home or Overseas fee rate for both the MRes and PhD years
- A Research Training Support Grant for laboratory consumable costs of £3,500 per year
- Funding to attend conferences
- Transferable skills training
How to apply
To apply for this project, please submit an application on the Imperial College Gateway (please see our How to Apply page for more detailed guidance).