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Functional magnetic nanomaterials as the next generation of bioproducts for healthcare applications

Project Description

A three-year project for doctoral studies is offered to support the application of highly motivated graduates willing to pursue their PhD studies. The project will be undertaken within the Aston Institute of Materials Research (AIMR) and the European Bioenergy Research Institute (EBRI) groups. The successful applicant will join an established experimental group working on the production of functional and biologically synthesised materials for healthcare and biotechnological applications.

Background of the Project
It is expected that the next generation of functional materials will be able to circumvent many of the current limitations in the healthcare and biotechnological industries and will allow the development of novel and unexplored applications. This project will aim to understand and further improve current manufacturing (bioprocessing and genetic engineering) strategies for the production of biologically synthesised magnetic nanoparticles, namely magnetosomes. These are naturally produced in magnetotactic bacteria and have a tremendous potential to become the next generation of functional materials. The end goal will be to achieve higher magnetosome yields and develop scalable production process at reduced costs as well as to develop novel applications of these functional materials.

Person Specification
The successful applicant should have a first class or upper second-class honours degree or equivalent qualification in bio/chemical engineering, biotechnology, biomedical engineering or any other relevant subject area. Skill requirements in one or more of the following disciplines is preferred: knowledge/experience of fermentation technology, microbiology, bioanalytical techniques and nanotechnologies.

For informal enquiries about this project and other opportunities within the AIMR and EBRI Research Groups, contact Dr Alfred Fernandez-Castane by email: .

Application process
Submit your Curriculum vitae, full academic records including achieved grades and a motivation letter by email to Dr Alfred Fernandez-Castane ().

Closing date for applications: Applications accepted all year round.

We would particularly like to encourage application from women seeking to progress their academic careers. Aston University is committed to the principles of the Athena SWAN Charter, recently recognised by a prestigious Silver Award to EAS, and we pride ourselves on our vibrant, friendly and supportive environment and family atmosphere.

Funding Notes

The project is offered to self-funded students. Candidates will need to clearly state in their application how they plan to cover a three-year fee for PhD studies plus bench fees.


A. Fernández-Castané, H. Li, O.R.T. Thomas, T.W. Overton. Development of a simple intensified fermentation strategy for growth of Magnetospirillum gryphiswaldense MSR-1: physiological responses to changing environmental conditions New Biotechnol (2018) 46: 22-13

A. Fernández-Castané, H. Li, O.R.T. Thomas, T.W. Overton. Flow cytometry as a rapid analytical tool to determine physiological responses to changing O2 and iron concentration by Magnetospirillum gryphiswaldense strain MSR-1. Sci Rep (2017) 7: 13117

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