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PhD in Chemistry - Single-molecule detection of fluorescent biomolecular building blocks using multiphoton excitation

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, May 01, 2020
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Fluorescence spectroscopy and imaging are powerful techniques for studying the structure, dynamics and interactions of biomolecules, and when performed at the single-molecule level, they can provide unique information. As most naturally occurring biomolecules are non-emissive, they require a fluorescent label. Rather than using external dyes, a better solution for many applications would be the use of fluorescent versions of biomolecular building blocks such as nucleotides and amino acids. However, these have not yet found application in ultrasensitive detection, in large part due to their short excitation wavelengths (often in the ultraviolet). To overcome this limitation, we have been exploring the use of multiphoton excitation with infrared light. We have recently demonstrated that fluorescent analogues of the natural nucleobases can be detected at the single-molecule level using three-photon excitation (J. Phys. Chem. Lett., 2019, 10, 5008-5012;, and that a new class of fluorescent amino acid can be detected via two-photon excitation (ChemComm, 2020, in press

The goal of this project is to establish the single-molecule detection of fluorescent biomolecule analogues as a real alternative to conventional approaches. It will use state-of-the-art ultrafast lasers for multiphoton microscopy, together with new fluorescent building blocks that are synthesized by collaborators in the UK, USA and Sweden. The successful candidate will gain experience of fluorescence techniques, ultrafast lasers, and the single-molecule characterisation of biomolecules.

Applications are invited now for this fully-funded 3.5 year PhD studentship in the Magennis group at the School of Chemistry, which will start in October 2020.

Eligibility: Applications are encouraged from highly motivated candidates who have, or expect to have, at least a 2:1 degree or equivalent in Chemistry, Physics or a closely related subject.

It is the University of Glasgow’s mission to foster an inclusive climate, which ensures equality in our working, learning, research and teaching environment.

We strongly endorse the principles of Athena SWAN, including a supportive and flexible working environment, with commitment from all levels of the organisation in promoting gender equality.

As an Athena SWAN Bronze Award holder, the School of Chemistry has equality, diversity and inclusion at its heart, and actively supports applications from all sections of society.

More details of the School’s Athena SWAN activities can be found here:

How to Apply: Please refer to the following website for details on how to apply:

Funding Notes

Funding is available to cover tuition fees for UK/EU applicants for 3.5 years, as well as paying a stipend at the Research Council rate (estimated £15,245 for Session 2020-21).

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