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WR DTP iCASE fully-funded project with Eluceda : Engineering proteins for applications in biosensors

   Department of Biology

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  Dr M Plevin, Dr Ian Eastwood, Dr S D Johnson, Dr Jon Agirre  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

At the heart of many biosensors is a protein that has been engineered to bind the target molecule. To be able to perform this function, the protein needs to bind its target with high affinity and specificity while immobilised on a sensor surface. It must also be stable under the operating conditions of the device. The aim of this project to build a new class of protein detection molecule for biosensor applications using a novel protein scaffold that has high potential for engineering. The project is a multidisciplinary collaboration between three academic research groups at the University of York (Plevin, Johnson and Agirre groups) and the biosensor company Eluceda ( You will use cutting-edge computational approaches to design protein scaffolds that bind their targets with appropriate specificity; produce candidate proteins and characterise them using different solution and surface-based assays; and evaluate promising candidates for use in commercial biosensors. You will receive a broad training across all disciplines of the project, including the latest approaches for computational protein design (e.g. AlphaFold2), techniques in structural biology, biophysics and surface-based methods for detecting molecular interactions, and the design of biosensors for commercial applications. You will also gain techno-commercial experience via secondments at Eluceda. This 4-year fully funded PhD project is ideally suited to someone interested in protein design and engineering who wants to design, build and test their ideas and see them applied to real world industrial applications.

The WR DTP and the University of York are committed to recruiting future scientists regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, disability, sexual orientation or career pathway to date. We understand that commitment and excellence can be shown in many ways and we have built our recruitment process to reflect this. We welcome applicants from all backgrounds, particularly those underrepresented in science, who have curiosity, creativity and a drive to learn new skills.

Entry Requirements: Students with, or expecting to gain, at least an upper second class honours degree, or equivalent, are invited to apply. The interdisciplinary nature of this programme means that we welcome applications from students with backgrounds in any biological, chemical, and/or physical science, or students with mathematical backgrounds who are interested in using their skills in addressing biological questions. 

Programme: PhD in Mechanistic Biology (4 years)

Start Date: 1st October 2022 (the student will be affiliated with the Department of Biology)

Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed in early March 2022

Funding Notes

This project is part of the BBSRC White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership in Mechanistic Biology. Appointed candidates will be fully-funded for 4 years. The funding includes:
Tax-free annual UKRI stipend (£16,062 for 2022/23)
UK tuition fees (£4,500 for 2021/22)
Research support and training charges
Placement funding from the industrial partner
We aim to support the most outstanding applicants from outside the UK and are able to offer a limited number of bursaries to outstanding international applicants. These full studentships will only be awarded to exceptional quality candidates, due to the competitive nature of this scheme.

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