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Engineered proteins sensitive to electric field and their applications

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Monday, February 10, 2020
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Research into stimuli-responsive polymers and biopolymers over last few decades generated substantial body of published literature. Nanoparticles, polymers and proteins with engineered pH, redox, temperature, light or combinations of sensitivities have been explored for stimuli-responsive drug delivery, diagnostics and a multitude of molecular sensors applications. Voltage-sensitive proteins exist in nature, but only for proteins associated with cellular membranes. However few if any molecular actuators have been devised capable of providing a molecular interface to transduce e.g. electric signals directly to biochemically meaningful outputs, rather than to affect ion channels in cellular membranes.
We have recently engineered proteins capable of changing their structure and properties in a controllable manner in response to thermal stimuli. This projects aims to further this research and to engineer electrically sensitive proteins for use in Lab-on-a-chip applicators. Ultimately we want to be able to control protein function in real time by electric stimuli. Such capability will greatly benefit biotechnology, for example by providing electrically controllable protein actuators for Lab-on-a-Chip or similar nanobiotechnology applications.
The project will utilize a range of biochemical, biophysical, analytical and instrumental techniques. Necessary training will be provided. We anticipate that the applicants will have an MSc degree or equivalent research experience in biochemistry, biophysics, electronic engineering or related disciplines.

This PhD project will be supervised jointly by:
1. Mikhail Soloviev, Department of Biological Sciences, Royal Holloway University of London
2. Giuliano Siligardi, Beamline B23, Diamond Light Source Ltd, Harwell Science & Innovation Campus

Applicants are invited to contact supervisor(s) by email ahead of submitting their application. Further information about applying for a postgraduate course at Royal Holloway can be found here:

Applications should be submitted online:

Funding Notes

Shortlisted eligible studentship applicants, will be notified within two-three weeks of the application deadline. Formal studentship interviews will usually be held within three-four weeks of the application deadline.
The funding for the project will cover home/EU tuition fees and a yearly stipend.

How good is research at Royal Holloway, University of London in Biological Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 24.00

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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