Imperial College London Featured PhD Programmes
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Multiscale mechanics: folded globular proteins as hydrogel Lego bricks

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

Proteins are bionanomachines. These workhorses of the cell are responsible for a vast array of biological functions. Acting in isolation or as part of larger, often complex machinery, they perform their function through structural and mechanical changes. Mechanical properties are an essential property of biological scaffolds, where cell behaviour can be controlled by designing material scaffolds that incorporate specific structural and mechanical cues. Proteins are semi-flexible polymer and biopolymer networks formed by semi-flexible polymers have emerged as a new class of biological soft matter systems with remarkable material properties, motivating many theoretical developments. Such theories include the mechanics and dynamics of individual semiflexible polymers, bundles and entangled solutions and non-affine approaches for disordered polymer networks. You will join a multidisciplinary team to understand the physics of the building block (the folded protein) and its connectivity (the protein network). This will be achieved through a cross length scale, physics based approach which will translate knowledge of the nanoscale biophysics of folded proteins to the mesoscale architecture and function of novel folded protein hydrogels. Experimental techniques will include single molecule force spectroscopy, rheology and scattering.

Funding Notes

This project is open to self-funded students and is eligible for funding from the Henry Ellison Scholarship, Leeds Doctoral Scholarships and EPSRC scholarships. All successful UK/EU and international applicants will be considered for funding, in an open competition across the School of Physics and Astronomy.

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