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  Self-assembly and phase separation in biological systems

   School of Biological Sciences

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  Prof Andrew Goryachev  Applications accepted all year round  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Are you interested in joining research on the interface of cutting edge biophysical modeling and biological experiment?

A PhD project is available to model self-assembly and phase separation in biological cells. Particular focus of the project is on the development of novel approaches for modeling phase separation based on the protein-protein and protein-DNA interactions. Depending on the interests and skills of the candidate, the project can take either more theoretical or more computational directions. In a computational approach, the student will use HOOMD-Blue open-source community-developed package for Brownian dynamics to develop methods for modelling of protein-protein interactions, chemical reactions between proteins, and, ultimately, self-assembly of large spatially complex cellular structures, such as centrosomes. The project is suitable for graduates with skills in mathematics, theoretical physics, and chemical engineering and interests in biology as well as biological and soft matter physics.

This project will be open for competition for funding in the autumn 2021 to start in October 2022. Candidates able to secure their own funding can apply at any time. However, all interested candidates are strongly advised to directly contact the supervisor ([Email Address Removed]) before applying.


The Goryachev group works on the interface of mathematical modelling, soft matter physics, and cell biology. The student will have an opportunity to learn science and methods of the above disciplines and acquire practical skills in the design of biological models, analytical analysis and numerical solution of reaction-diffusion equations. The student will receive training in nonlinear dynamical systems, bifurcation theory and stability analysis. With continuing coaching and guidance, the student is expected to read and interpret biological literature, construct models and perform their numerical simulation and analysis. The project offers an excellent opportunity to enter modern cutting-edge research on the interface of biological and physical sciences while contributing to publications in the high-profile journals.


Biological Sciences (4) Chemistry (6) Engineering (12) Mathematics (25) Physics (29)


1. J. Anderson et al., HOOMD-blue: A Python package for high-performance molecular dynamics and hard particle Monte Carlo simulations, Comp Mat Sci 173, 109363 (2020).
2. F. Weik et al., ESPResSo 4.0 – an extensible software package for simulating soft matter systems, Eur. Physical J. Special Topics, 227(14), 1789 – 1816, (2019).

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 About the Project