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Protein interactions for biological adhesives

Project Description

Applications are invited from ambitious, self-motivated and enthusiastic candidates, with a background in biochemistry, protein chemistry or bio-interactions to work on a fully funded PhD studentship. Funding and stipend are provided jointly from the Institute of Bio-Sensing Technology at the University of the West of England, Bristol and GKN Aerospace. The PhD will focus on investigation of biochemical bonding mechanisms to create novel adhesives for multiple applications, such as in medical devices, wound healing and bonding engineering materials. The PhD researcher will be primarily based at the Institute of Bio-Sensing Technology, but will be expected to directly engage with industrial colleagues at GKN Aerospace on a regular basis.

Biologically derived or inspired adhesives have the potential to provide novel solutions to range of contemporary challenges, such as tissue reconstruction and engineering structural bonding. High adhesion strength, reliability, reversible attachment, attachment to any surface, including those in complex and harsh environments are all advantages that could be realised with biological derived bonding. Adhesives found in nature frequently achieve good bond strengths in warm, wet and dirty environmental conditions. The use of biological adhesives is likely to be less harmful to the environment, use fewer chemicals and reduce safety concerns associated with chemical toxicity and solvent flammability.

The types of active molecules found in biological adhesives are diverse; however, there are relatively few that employ two components. Two component adhesives are advantageous as they typically have a longer life and allow better control of the bonding and curing process. One example is the reaction between fibrinogen and thrombin which naturally produce fibrin clots in the body.

This PhD programme will focus on the development of novel two-part adhesives based on the strong binding energies between biological molecules such as biotin and streptavidin. Factors affecting the properties of the bio-adhesive will be investigated in terms of the bio-components, stability, and binding strength. To achieve future exploitation these adhesives will need to demonstrate potential to meet application requirements. The aim of the PhD is to deliver not only high-quality research outputs, but also to demonstrate research impact by proposing a technology development and exploitation roadmap for GKN Aerospace.

For an informal discussion about the studentship, please email

Funding Notes

The studentship is available from 01/04/2020 for a period of three years, subject to satisfactory progress and includes a tax exempt stipend, which is currently £15,009 per annum.

In addition, full-time tuition fees will be covered for up to three years (Home/EU rates only). Overseas applicants will be required to cover the difference between Home/EU and the overseas tuition fee rates in each year of study.

How good is research at University of the West of England, Bristol in Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 45.40

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

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