Engineering Biology approaches to functionalised hydrogel production

   School of Chemistry

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  Prof Neil Thomas  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

This BBSRC CASE DTP project will be of interest to doctoral candidates who have a strong interest in biomaterials research and peptide modification and bioconjugation. Hence it is a suitable project for candidates with a background in biotechnology, bioengineering, biochemistry or biological chemistry. The research will focus on the use of synthetic/engineering biology methods to develop new hydrogels as bespoke scaffolds for cell niches that are required in regenerative medicine and animal-free drug testing. The student will be trained in advanced, sustainable and low environmental impact methods for protein generation including chemoenzymatic posttranslational modification together with mammalian cell culture and a wide range of imaging and biomaterials characterisation techniques. The research will be conducted between the research groups of Neil Thomas and Cathy Merry in the Biodiscovery Institute at the University of Nottingham (

This research complex offers state of the art facilities and a vibrant and supportive research culture, housing 850 researchers from the Schools of Chemistry, Medicine, Life Sciences, Pharmacy and Veterinary Medicine and Science. The student will have continuous close contact with the industrial partner, PeptiMatrix ( who are a rapidly expanding biotechnology company that has spun out of the University and are currently co-located in the Biodiscovery Institute. The industrial supervisor, Dr John Curd graduated from the BBSRC DTP and hence has a good appreciation of the demands of the PhD studentship. The student appointed will spend a 3-6 month period working within PeptiMatrix’s laboratory, gaining first-hand experience in a broad range of activities in a fast growing biotechnology start-up.

To apply and check your eligibility, please click go to and you can find further information about how to apply to our programme.

Informal enquiries may be addressed to [Email Address Removed] or [Email Address Removed]

Apply online here by noon on Tuesday 16th January 2024

Biological Sciences (4) Chemistry (6) Engineering (12)

Funding Notes

Home and international students are welcome to apply for this opportunity. Funding is available for four years from late September 2024. The award covers tuition fee (£4,712) at the home rate plus an annual stipend which was (£18,622) for 2023. This is set by the Research Councils. Please note that successful international candidates will be put forward for a University Fees Difference Scholarship to cover the difference between the home and international fee.

Where will I study?