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Novel Protein Assemblies Built on Graphene and other Two-Dimensional Nanomaterials

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

Project Description

Main supervisor: Dr Stefan Bagby (Biology & Biochemistry)
Second supervisor: Dr Adelina Ilie (Physics)

This project will combine physical and biochemical approaches to explore the potential of protein immobilisation on graphene or related two-dimensional materials, such as transition metal dichalcogenides (e.g. MoS2), for the development of novel, nanosheet-based protein assemblies and arrays. Such assemblies have numerous potential applications in the biological and physical sciences, including molecular recognition, isolation, sensing and assaying; drug discovery, and medical diagnostics. Alternatively they can be exploited to produce novel electronic nanodevices or smart materials/systems.

Graphene and transition metal dichalcogenide (TMD) layers are both atomically flat, two-dimensional materials; this is expected to promote ordered, though differing, assembly of biomolecules due to their different surface chemistry. They also offer contrasting properties: while graphene is a conductor with extreme (down to single-molecule) sensitivity to environmental changes, TMDs are semiconductors, meaning that they have a well-defined band gap and, thus, optical response, and can be incorporated in digital transistors (with a clear On/Off switching behaviour). Biomolecules, in contrast, have complementary, in-built capabilities for assembly.

Protocols will be developed for non-covalent and/or covalent attachment on graphene and TMD nanosheets of classes of biomolecules ranging from simple, single-function proteins (such as cytochrome c and haemoglobin), to supramolecular complexes, such as the core of E2 (dihydrolipoyl acyltransferase), that can be used as a scaffold for the assembly of multi-functional nanoparticles. Such 2D nanosheet-protein assemblies will be tailored to respond to external stimuli and, hence, provide modulated functions to be exploited in novel electronic devices, and smart materials and systems.

The research will be conducted in collaboration between the Department of Biology and Biochemistry, and the Department of Physics, and will provide excellent opportunities for interdisciplinary training, covering biochemistry, bionanotechnology, materials science and physical characterization. A manuscript describing our current research in this area is available upon request.

Funding Notes

We welcome applications from self-funded candidates and candidates who can source their own funding.


Mannoor MS et al. Graphene-based wireless bacteria detection on tooth enamel. Nature Communications 3 (2012) 763

Beyond graphene. Chemistry World, January 2014

Green NS, Norton ML. Interactions of DNA with graphene and sensing applications of graphene field-effect transistor devices: A review. Analytica Chimica Acta 853 (2015) 127–142

How good is research at University of Bath in Biological Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 24.50

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

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