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Synthetic Extremophiles: Cellular bionics for extreme conditions

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  • Full or part time
    Dr N Brooks
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round

Project Description

Funded by the Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarship Programme in Cellular Bionics – 3 year PhD studentships

Supervisors: Dr Nick Brooks | Prof Oscar Ces | Prof Rob Law

One of the key markers of life is its ability to adapt and evolve in response to its surroundings, helping organisms to survive in their ecological niches. Such adaptations can be structural, behavioural or physiological. In the case of extremophiles this trait extends to enabling life to thrive in forbidding environments that were once not thought to be able to sustain life: from extremes of pressure all the way through to extremes of temperature. This studentship aims for the first time to generate biological-synthetic hybrid systems that are capable of surviving extremes of pressure (equivalent to being at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, the deepest ocean point in the world; >1000atm)-synthetic extremophiles. By fusing living and non-living systems we will generate ensembles that are able to modify their composition and make-up in response to external changes in hydrostatic pressure. This has the potential to transform our understanding of how molecular components come together to introduce emergent behaviour. In addition, it will lead to the manufacture of biological components that are ideally suited to a wide range of industrial, biotechnical and consumer applications where performance under extreme conditions and the capability to respond to extreme operating conditions are fundamental prerequisites.

Funding Notes

Applications are encouraged as soon as possible, since positions will be filled as soon as suitable candidates are found.
To see our other projects, our eligibility criteria, and to find out how to apply, please visit our studentships page:
For more information about the Leverhulme Centre please visit our homepage:

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