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Novel building blocks for soft materials based on carbohydrate assemblies (KHIMYAKU20DTP)

Project Description

Carbohydrates are widespread in nature and generate soft biomatter that fulfil many important biological functions; they are also exploited as bulk commodities across industry sectors due to their remarkable range of properties. Introducing highly sensitive molecular probes into cellulose building blocks represents a powerful strategy for monitoring self assembly to guide the design of renewable materials.

This project will enable a PhD student to develop a comprehensive multiscale tool-kit for elucidating structure and interface properties of novel carbohydrate building blocks containing fluorine probes which will combine advanced experimental and computational approaches. Tailored introduction of fluorine labels in the carbohydrate chains expands the reach of the available structural and dynamics methodologies to probe fine details of assembly of such complex materials at different lengths scales, from the motifs of assembly in the bulk to water/carbohydrate interactions at the interfaces. By combining the experimental data and molecular modelling a novel multi-scale tool-kit for complex carbohydrates will be developed. This will be tested on probing the mechanism of assembly of fluorinated carbohydrate blocks into complex hydrogel structures.

Through this project, you will receive a multi-disciplinary training in using advanced advanced NMR spectroscopy and molecular modelling methods which will contribute to the develment of novel carbohydrate builing blocks for assembly of new biomaterials from renewable feedstocks with potential application in delivery systems, personal care products and foods. You will join an exciting team with a world leading epxertise in Soft Matter and Carbohydrate Materials and will gain unique set of scientific and research management skills relelavant across many areas of modern Biosiences.

The position is available for graduates in the fields of chemistry, biological sciences, materials science, physics or pharmacy with attained or expected degree classification of 2.1 or above (of its equivalent). For further information contact Prof Yaroslav Khimyak ().

Project supervisor:
Project sponsor: Norwich Research Park Bioscience Doctoral Training Partnership
Type of programme: PhD
Start date: 1 October 2020
Mode of study: Full-time
Studentship length: 4 years


- First degree (2:1 or above) in relevant subject
- English language (IELTS 6.5 overall, 6 in each section)


This project has been shortlisted for funding by the Norwich Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (NRPDTP). Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed as part of the studentship competition. Candidates will be interviewed on either the 7th, 8th or 9th January 2020.

The NRP DTP offers postgraduates the opportunity to undertake a 4-year research project whilst enhancing professional development and research skills through a comprehensive training programme. You will join a vibrant community of world-leading researchers. All NRPDTP students undertake a three-month professional internship (PIPS) during their study. The internship offers exciting and invaluable work experience designed to enhance professional development. Full support and advice will be provided by our Professional Internship team. Students with, or expecting to attain, at least an upper second class honours degree, or equivalent, are invited to apply.

For further information and to apply, please visit our website:

Funding Notes

For funding eligibility guidance, please visit our website: View Website. Full Studentships cover a stipend (2019/0 rate: £15,009pa), research costs and tuition fees at UK/EU rate and are available to UK and EU students who meet the UK residency requirements.

Students from EU countries who do not meet the UK residency requirements may be eligible for a fees-only award. Students in receipt of a fees-only award will be eligible for a maintenance stipend awarded by the NRPDTP Bioscience Doctoral Scholarships. To be eligible students must meet the EU residency requirements.

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