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Stimuli-responsive biopolymers for life science, materials and therapeutic applications

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

This is a self-funded project, match-finding option may be available for qualifying candidates. Please include a detailed CV with any enquiries.

The scientific motivation behind this project is to generate remotely controlled molecular systems capable of changing their physical or molecular properties in response to external stimuli. Such stimuli include but are not limited to ultrasound, electromagnetic radiation, exposure to infrared light, thermal, mechanical or chemical stimulation. We have developed a number of thermally activated protein-based systems. One such system comprises protein-based antibody capture and release systems developed at Royal Holloway. Another system encompasses a range of sequence specific self-assembling polypeptides originally pioneered by MRC-LMB and further developed in collaboration with the University of Sheffield, University of Lincoln and the UK’s national synchrotron science facility Diamond Light Source Ltd. A common feature of these molecular systems is the ability to self-assemble and then disassemble in response to thermal stimuli. Another important feature is the ability to carry and release therapeutic load. Combining such systems with stimuli-specific sensitive elements such as light excitable groups, magnetic nanoparticles, elastic nanoparticles, chemically modifiable groups and their combinations yields highly tuneable stimuli-responsive biomaterials suitable for a variety of life science and therapeutic applications.

The key aim of this project is to engineer new biomaterials by combining multiple stimuli-specific sensors with functional biologics and to test physical, chemical and biological properties of the newly generated smart composite biomaterials.
Due to the multidisciplinary of this PhD research project, applications from students with the background in physics, chemistry, biophysics, biochemistry, nanomaterial and protein based therapeutics are especially welcome. The start date is negotiable. Postgraduate degree regulations allow part-time registration and switching between full and part-time options during the course of PhD. Please visit out webpages for further information.

The research will be based in the School of biological Sciences, Royal Holloway University of London. Please visit the College website for information on the accommodation options available and for further information.

Applicants should already have or be expected to obtain a First or strong upper Second Class degree in a relevant discipline. An MSc degree or another cross-disciplinary experience may provide an advantage. Applicants are welcome to send informal enquiries by e-mail to

Any enquiries should be accompanied by a full CV (no size limits). Potential applicants are asked to include detailed description of relevant undergraduate, postgraduate research and work experiences in their CV.

How good is research at Royal Holloway, University of London in Biological Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 24.00

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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