This PhD project falls into the areas of supramolecular chemistry, chemical biology and DNA nanotechnology and involves the preparation and study of DNA-based materials and sensors. These systems vary from modified nucleic acids, in which DNA is tagged with redox-active or photo-active units, to completely artificial nucleic acids, in which the sugar-phosphate backbone of DNA is replaced entirely with metal-containing units. The student will study various characteristics of these systems, ranging from their spectroscopic and assembly-forming properties to their ability to mimic biological processes, such as DNA replication. Potential applications include sensing (e.g. for COVID-19, cancer or trauma) and the generation of DNA-based materials with novel catalytic, magnetic or conducting properties.
The student will be trained in the following techniques: organic synthesis; automated DNA synthesis; UV/vis, fluorescence & CD spectroscopy; electrochemistry; MS; HPLC; gel electrophoresis.