Synthetic membrane pores composed of folded DNA can achieve a step-change in the controllable transport of matter across biological membranes. The artificial structures mimic natural protein channels with rationally designed DNA architectures of almost any conceivable nanoscale shape. Reflecting the bigger structural spectrum, there is a greater scope to tailor pores for applications in biosensing, synthetic biology, and nanofluidics. To fully realize the biotechnological potential of the pores, a broader scientific understanding is required that expands successful pioneering experiments. In this project, we will construct with the tools of molecular and chemical biology a range of DNA nanopores of different dimensions and equip them with various lipid anchors with the aim of understanding how these factors influence membrane insertion. After structurally characterizing the pores, we will use ensemble and single-molecule biophysical techniques to determine membrane insertion and pore behavior inside the bilayers. In the final step, we will exploit the gained insight to tailor the pore to a specific application such as biosensing or cell-killing.
(1) Burns J et al 2013 Nano Lett 13 2351
(2) Burns JR et al 2013 Angew Chem Int Ed 52 12069
(3) Burns JR et al 2014 Angew Chem Int Ed 53 12466
(4) Seifert A et al 2015 ACS Nano 9 1117
(5) Krishnan S and Simmel F 2015 Nat Chem 7 17
ELIGIBILITY AND APPLICATION
This four-year studentship fully funded covers UK/EU tuition fees and an annual tax-free stipend in the region of £16,057 (exact amount confirmed each year).
This project will suit a chemist or biological chemist with an interest in molecular engineering and DNA nanotechnology. Prior experience in the molecular biological handling of DNA is expected. Knowledge in nucleic acids chemistry is a benefit. The student will be trained in biophysical and/or cell biological techniques by senior PDRAs and staff members
For more information regarding the project, please contact Dr Stefan Howorka - [email protected]
For more information about the programme, eligibility or the application process please contact the programme administrator - [email protected]