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Synthetic stimuli-responsive transmembrane assemblies

   School of Chemistry

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  Dr James Cooper  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

Reading United Kingdom Organic Chemistry Chemistry Polymers Synthetic Chemistry

About the Project

A fully funded PhD position is available in the laboratory of Dr James Arthur Cooper ( at the University of Reading, working on synthetic stimuli-responsive transmembrane assemblies. The position is available from 1 October 2021 or 1 January 2022.

Membrane-bound proteins play an integral role in biology. They control the transport of ions and molecules across the membrane, dictate chemical reactivity and catalysis, and enable signalling between cellular entities. Synthetic assemblies that can mimic this behaviour have potential applications in channel-replacement therapies, drug delivery applications, and may find use in synthetic biology as components in hierarchical molecular networks, for example in synthetic cells that function as chemical factories. This project will investigate unique supramolecular approaches to develop stimuli-responsive assemblies that can insert into membranes and act as ion transporters, or as prototypical transmembrane signalling systems.

The Department of Chemistry at the University of Reading has state-of-the-art equipment available in the Chemical Analysis Facility (, which provides access to: NMR spectroscopy (up to 700 MHz), mass spectrometry, molecular spectroscopy (fluorescence, UV/Vis, IR and Raman), single-crystal and powder X-ray diffraction, electron microscopy (SEM, TEM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM).

More information about the Department of Chemistry at the University of Reading can be found here:

Skills the researcher will learn

The researcher will develop skills in organic synthesis, the synthesis and analysis of supramolecular assemblies, the formation of vesicles/liposomes and study of transmembrane processes, and the use of a variety of analytical techniques (e.g. NMR, fluorescence and UV/vis spectroscopy). The interdisciplinary nature of this project means that there is likely to be opportunities for collaboration, both inside and outside the Department of Chemistry.

Candidate requirements

The candidate should have a good knowledge of synthetic organic chemistry with an interest in supramolecular chemistry and a desire to improve their synthetic and analytical skills. Applicants should hold (or expect to be awarded) a first class or upper-second class degree in Chemistry and not be in possession of a PhD.

How to apply:

Prospective candidates should contact James as soon as possible by email () and provide a full CV, a cover letter and at least one academic reference.

More information about how to apply can be found at:

Funding Notes

This studentship is fully funded for three years (university fees and stipend at the UKRI rate included) and is for UK students only.
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