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  Engineering Ice-Binding Proteins

   Department of Chemistry

   Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Ice-binding proteins are produced by extremophiles to help them survive in the worlds coldest places. They have many potential applications, from the storage of cells/tissue to transport infrastructure. Our team has developed both biological and synthetic tools for Chemical Cryobiology.

We are seeking PhD candidates to work with us to use recombinant expression (e.g. in E.coli) to produce ice binding proteins to explore several aspects of cryobiology. We are particularly keen to explore ‘minimal’ antifreeze proteins: small cyclic peptides which we discovered using phage display: Nature Communications, 2021, 12, 2675.

We will explore fundamentals of how these proteins function, and explore applications of their use. Our team has previously used ice binding proteins for e.g. cell cryopreservation (Biomacromolecules, 2019, 20, 3864) and we are keen on understanding how macromolecules bind ice (Nature Communications, 2021, 12, 13223).

The GibsonGroup is moving to Manchester in Autumn 2023 and is based in brand new laboratories in the Department of Chemistry, and the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology. The group has dedicated facilities for organic/polymer synthesis, as well as cell culture, microbiology and advanced imaging (confocal microscopy), allowing a truly multidisciplinary approach to tackle globally important problems.

Read more here

You must contact the main supervisor to discuss the application before you apply. The email address Professor Gibson is


We normally expect students to have a First or Upper Second class UK honours degree or international equivalent, in a relevant science or engineering discipline or a first degree with an additional UK Masters degree (or international equivalent).

If you have any questions about making an application, please contact our admissions team by emailing .

The duration of the PhD is 3.5 years. The start date is October 2023.

How to apply:

You will need to submit an online application through our website here:

When you apply, you will be asked to upload the following supporting documents: 

• Final Transcript and certificates of all awarded university level qualifications

• Interim Transcript of any university level qualifications in progress

• CV

• You will be asked to supply contact details for two referees on the application form (please make sure that the contact email you provide is an official university/ work email address as we may need to verify the reference)

• English Language certificate (if applicable)

At Manchester we offer a range of scholarships, studentships and awards at university, faculty and department level, to support both UK and overseas postgraduate researchers.

For more information, visit our funding page or search our funding database for specific scholarships, studentships and awards you may be eligible for.

Equality, diversity and inclusion is fundamental to the success of The University of Manchester, and is at the heart of all of our activities. We know that diversity strengthens our research community, leading to enhanced research creativity, productivity and quality, and societal and economic impact.

We actively encourage applicants from diverse career paths and backgrounds and from all sections of the community, regardless of age, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation and transgender status.

Biological Sciences (4) Engineering (12)

Funding Notes

This 3.5 year PhD is self funded. At Manchester we offer a range of scholarships, studentships and awards at university, faculty and department level, to support both UK and overseas postgraduate researchers.

How good is research at The University of Manchester in Chemistry?

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

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