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Investigating the nanophysical properties of biomolecular structures

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  • Full or part time
    Dr Patrick Mesquida
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

Project Description

The aim of this highly interdisciplinary project is to explore the mechanical and electrical properties of biomolecular structures such as DNA, chromosomes, protein fibers or cell membranes. The main tool to be used is Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM), with which we can determine these properties with unsurpassed sensitivity and resolution at the nanometer scale. We are particularly interested in the influence of carbohydrates on the electrostatic charge and the tensile strength of biomaterials. This has profound implications not only on fundamental biological processes such as cell adhesion but also on applications in tissue-engineering.

This project is suitable for a motivated PhD student with a background in Physics, Chemistry or Materials/Engineering. The project is conducted in close collaboration with researchers in the Life Sciences at King’s and at the Vienna University of Technology. The student must, therefore, be willing to spend a few weeks in Austria if required.

In the Experimental Biophysics and Nanotechnology Group of the Department of Physics at King’s College London, we are very well placed to offer a stimulating environment for this project. We have excellent, state-of-the-art lab facilities and all the necessary equipment, incl three high-end AFMs. The student will be embedded in a large group of PhD students with a diverse, international background in Central London. Furthermore, the College offers a huge range of seminars and transferrable-skills courses that can provide a competitive edge in today’s job market.

Applicants must hold, or expect to receive, a first or upper second class honours degree (or equivalent) in Physics, Chemistry, Mechanical or Electrical Engineering, Materials Sciences, or similar.

Funding Notes

Full funding (tax-free stipend + tuition fees) can only be offered to students who meet the EPSRC eligibility criteria (UK/EU/EEA nationals who have been resident in the UK for 3 years prior to starting their PhD-programme; see here: Please do not apply if you do not meet these criteria. In exceptional cases, EU/EEA nationals who have not been resident in the UK can apply. However, they must have obtained excellent grades equivalent to first-class in their last degree (e.g. "sehr gut" in the German system, "très bien" in the French system, etc).

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