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PhD studentship in Biophysics - suspended animation in living matter

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  • Full or part time
    Dr Shiladitya Banerjee
    Dr G Charras
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

We are pleased to invite applications for a fully funded 4-year PhD studentship to study the transition between life and death in living matter in a collaborative project between several laboratories at UCL. The studentship will be based at the Department of Physics and Astronomy and the Institute for the Physics of Living Systems (IPLS) at UCL. IPLS is a cross-faculty institute with a mission to promote interdisciplinary research at the interface of physics and biology for a fundamental understanding of the complex behaviors of living systems.

Humans have always been perplexed about the differences between living and non-living matter. While something can be alive or dead, many living organisms are also able to enter a temporary state of suspended animation which, for example, allows spores to survive for long periods without water or humans to survive drowning in ice cold water. While such states play critical roles in many aspects of health and disease, we have almost no understanding of the factors that determine whether, under specific conditions, an organism will enter a reversible state of suspended animation or die. Here, we will build on ongoing work by several teams at UCL exploring the underlying mechanisms involved in the entry to and exit from these suspended animation states in different model systems. We are looking for a PhD candidate to work on key aspects of this problem to develop model and perform experiments to explore the changes in the state of matter in response to loss of oxygen, ATP, water and heat. This work lies at the boundary between physics and biology - between life and death. Importantly, by improving our ability to engineer states of suspended animation such work has implications for human health and well-being.

The successful applicant should have (or expect to achieve) at least the equivalent of a UK upper second class MSci or Master’s degree (or equivalent) in Physics, Biophysics, Engineering, Chemistry or a relevant subject. Experience in working in interdisciplinary teams, biophysics, and programming is desired. Additional experience in microscopy, and biology will be an advantage.

The position is funded by the Royal Society, and will be for four years starting in the third quarter of 2019. The studentship will cover all university fees and includes funds for maintenance at the standard UK rate and for participation in international conferences and workshops. If you have any queries about this studentship, please contact Dr. Shiladitya Banerjee ([Email Address Removed]) or Prof. Guillaume Charras ([Email Address Removed]) who will be supervising the research.

Please send electronic applications to [Email Address Removed] (cc [Email Address Removed]) in the following format:

• A CV, including full details of all University course grades to date.

• Contact details for two academic or professional referees (at least one academic).

• A personal statement (750 words maximum) outlining (i) your academic excellence, (ii) suitability for the project with reference to the criteria in the person specification, (iii) what you hope to achieve from the PhD and (iv) your research experience to-date.

Please include a contact telephone number and an email address where you can be easily reached. References will be taken up for all short-listed candidates.

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. 

The closing date for applications is 15th August 2019.

Funding Notes

Royal Society

How good is research at University College London in Physics?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 110.53

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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