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Watching radicals evolve during (bio)chemical reactions: development of pulse electrochemical EPR spectroscopy


Department of Chemistry

Sunday, January 31, 2021 Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
London United Kingdom Analytical Chemistry Biochemistry Biophysics Chemical Physics Inorganic Chemistry Other Physical Chemistry Plant Biology

About the Project

This is one of two fully funded PhD positions available in the Roessler research group as part of the Centre for Pulse EPR spectroscopy (PEPR) that is being built on the White City Campus at Imperial College London, supported by a £2.3 M grant from the EPSRC. The Roessler group investigates unpaired electrons in redox reactions that underpin essential chemical reactions in respiration and photosynthesis by applying state-of-the-art pulse EPR techniques [1] to understand the mechanisms of challenging enzymes that cannot be obtained in high concentrations and require precise electrochemical potential adjustment [2]. More recently, the group has been developing film-electrochemical EPR spectroscopy (FE-EPR), an exciting technique for studying the evolution of radicals during a reaction [3]. FE-EPR allows the accurate determination of the redox potentials of buried redox centres within enzymes and their activity during catalysis. PEPR combines state-of-the-art pulse EPR at X- and Q-band frequencies with FE-EPR and instrument development in collaboration with University College London and the London Centre of Nanotechnology.

Project 1

In this project, you will expand the capabilities of FE-EPR from continuous wave to pulse EPR spectroscopy, thus enabling a new dimension in the investigation of radicals formed during catalytic reactions. This new method promises to enable us to get detailed information on structure and bonding (from pulse EPR) of radical intermediates formed during redox reactions, including surface-bound catalysts which are of wide interest. For this project a background in physical sciences will be helpful.

We are looking to recruit an outstanding Masters level graduate in Chemistry or a related subject. The PhD studentships are fully funded for 3.5 years. Please see http://www.imperial.ac.uk/roessler-lab/ for further details on current research and a full list of recent publications. The PhD student will primarily be based in the Molecular Sciences Research Hub, the new research home for the Department of Chemistry at Imperial’s White City campus, with access to further research facilities, e.g. SPIN-Lab, at the South Kensington Campus.


Funding Notes

EEA nationals are eligible but those who do not have permanent residence status in the UK must be able to start by 31.07.2021 at the latest to guarantee full funding of their tuition fees for their entire PhD. The prospective PhD student is encouraged get in touch via e-mail with a detailed CV and explaining his/her interests and research experience.

References

1. M. M. Roessler and E. Salvadori, 'Principles and Applications of EPR Spectroscopy in the chemical sciences', Chemical Society Reviews, 2018, 47 (8), 2534-2553
2. N. le Breton, J. J. Wright, A.J.Y.J. Jones, E. Salvadori, H. R. Bridges, J. Hirst, M. M. Roessler, 'Using EPR Hyperfine Spectroscopy to define the Proton-Coupled Electron Transfer Reaction at Fe-S cluster N2 in Respiratory Complex I', J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2017, 139 (45), 16319-16326, Spotlight Article
3. K. Abdiaziz, E. Salvadori, K.P. Sokol, E. Reisner, M.M. Roessler, ‘Protein film electrochemical EPR spectroscopy as a technique to investigate redox reactions in biomolecules’, Chemical Communications, 2019, 55 (60), 8840-8843

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