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Maximising Biomarker Detection Sensitivity through Engineered Bioconjugate Chemistry

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

Project Description

Applications are invited for self-funded students wishing to perform research towards a PhD/MSc by Research degree in the general area of bioorganic chemistry. The studentship is aimed at the synthesis of new multifunctional linker molecules for selective protein capture for applications in high-sensitivity medical diagnostics.

The successful candidate will have a background in chemistry (or relevant related discipline) and have an interest in synthetic chemistry, protein science and nanotechnology. They will join a growing team of multidisciplinary researchers from a range of backgrounds from chemistry, biochemistry, pharmacy and materials engineering. The research group is based at the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology (http://www.mib.ac.uk) and offers state-of-the-art laboratories, instrumentation and facilities.

The project is part-funded by Aeirtec Ltd., a diagnostics development company, and the researcher will have the opportunity to spend time on a placement at Aeirtec’s laboratories.

Further research details:
Immunosorbent “sandwich” assays (including ELISA) that rely on fluorescence detection have become a leading technology in medical testing, drug discovery, biotechnology and cellular imaging. The high selectivity of antibody binding, combined with the high sensitivity that is enabled by fluorescence spectroscopy, has led to huge advances in the diagnostic testing of a variety of diseases. To further improve diagnostic sensitivity, many researchers have started to harness metal enhanced fluorescence (MEF). Here, the co-location of the antibody in the vicinity of a metallic nanoparticle results in a large plasmonic enhancement of fluorescence output (in the order of 100-fold).

This project aims at developing MEF-based assay systems by the application of state-of-the-art bioconjugate methods to control the orientation of the immobilised antibodies. This component of the overall project will therefore focus on the synthesis of bioconjugate linkers that enable the site-selective protein attachment and the characterisation of their properties, behaviour and performance.


Funding Notes

Applicants should have or expect a good I or II(i) honours degree for PhD and a good II(ii) honours degree for MSc by Research (or an equivalent degree) in general area of bioorganic chemistry.

Applications are invited for self-funded students. For UK/EU tuition fees are £8000 and International are £22,000 for 2015/16 academic year.


[1] J. Chai, L. S. Wong, L. R. Giam, C. A. Mirkin, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 2011, 108, 19521-19525. http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1116099108
[2] S. M. Tabakman, L. Lau, J. T. Robinson, J. Price, S. P. Sherlock, H. Wang, B. Zhang, Z. Chen, S. Tangsombatvisit, J. A. Jarrell, P. J. Utz, H. Dai, Nat. Commun. 2011, 2, 466. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms1477
[3] L. S. Wong, C. V. Karthikeyan, D. J. Eichelsdoerfer, J. Micklefield, C. A. Mirkin, Nanoscale 2012, 4, 659-666. http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/c1nr11443c
[4] B. Zhang, R. B. Kumar, H. Dai, B. J. Feldman, Nat. Med. 2014, 20, 948-953. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nm.3619

Contact for further Information
For more information and informal inquiries please contact Dr Lu Shin Wong: [email protected]

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