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Printing biocatalysts (Ref: SF20/APP/PERRY2)

Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

Prof J Perry Applications accepted all year round Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

The use of enzymes to perform exquisitely selective chemical reactions is key part of the synthetic chemist’s toolbox. Being able to discover, optimize and then effectively use and reuse suitable enzymes are the key tasks in the development of a biocatalytic process.

This PhD will build on research being done in the research group lead by Professor Justin Perry on biocatalysis and biocatalyst discovery whilst at the same time incorporate new research on immobilizing these biocatalysts in coatings. Ongoing research has shown that microorganisms can be encapsulated in polymer coatings and still offer effective whole cell biotransformation capabilities.

Using our experience in industrial biotechnology and state of the art polymer chemistry this PhD will develop inkjet printing methods allied to additive manufacturing methods to create complex shapes with microscale features coated in biohybrid polymers. We will look to simulate biological structures to enable novel modes of enzyme discovery and biofilm utilization.

Applicants should have a first degree in either chemistry, biochemistry or polymer science and have an interest in working in multidisciplinary environment performing research that will span the range from determining fundamental material/chemical properties to product case studies which demonstrate the utility of the project’s findings to commercial research partners. Candidates with an interest in learning new skills across discipline boundaries, particularly those between the physical sciences and the biosciences, are particularly encouraged to apply.

Eligibility and How to Apply:
Please note eligibility requirement:
• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
• Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see

Please note: Applications should include a covering letter that includes a short summary (500 words max.) of a relevant piece of research that you have previously completed and the reasons you consider yourself suited to the project. Applications that do not include the advert reference (e.g. SF20/…) will not be considered.

Deadline for applications: 1st July for October start, or 1st December for March start
Start Date: October or March

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality.

Please direct enquiries to Prof Justin Perry ()

Funding Notes

Please note, this is a self-funded project and does not include tuition fees or stipend; the studentship is available to Students Worldwide. Fee bands are available at View Website . A relevant fee band will be discussed at interview based on project running costs.


A high-throughput screening method for determining the substrate scope of nitrilases.
Graeme Turnbull, Nicola L. Brown, Meng Zhang, Gary W. Black, David Randall and Justin J. B. Perry, Chemical Communications, 2015 , Vol 51, 2660 – 2662

Determination of the Biocide Econea® in Artificial Seawater by Solid Phase Extraction and High Performance Liquid Chromatography Mass Spectrometry,
Robert A. Downs, John R. Dean, Adrian Downer and Justin J. Perry, Separations, 2017, Vol 4, No 4, 34-40

“Getting chemical with a 3D printer”: a blog at

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