Structure and control of DNA origami

Supervisor(s)

Contact Dr Neil Thomson to discuss this project further informally.

Project description

DNA origami is a burgeoning sub-field of bionanotechnology that uses rational design of short DNA molecules to self-assemble or fold a longer single-stranded DNA template into complex 2D and 3D patterns and objects. A far reaching goal of this field is to develop nanoscale molecular devices with high efficiency to carry out tasks such as energy harvesting and transduction, computation and therapeutic delivery for healthcare applications.

The combination of self-assembly properties of DNA and information storage ability make this a promising nanomaterial for active devices.  A limitation of the approach however arises from the non-integer number of base-pairs per helical turn in the B-form DNA double helix. This imparts curvature into 2D DNA origami tiles, which limits the ability of these to assemble into higher order structures necessary for future applications.

This project will explore the fundamentals of the DNA self-assemble and its connection to rational design and evoke methods to control the curvature of the nanotiles. It will use a combination of molecular modelling and high resolution imaging of the nanotiles using atomic force microscopy to understand more deeply how DNA origami assembles and what governs their geometric and mechanical properties.

Entry requirements

Applications are invited from candidates with, or expecting, a minimum of a UK upper second class honours degree (2:1) in a relevant discipline, a Master's degree in a relevant discipline, or both.

If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University’s minimum English Language requirements.

How to apply

Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the university's website. Please state clearly in the research information section that the PhD you wish to be considered for is the 'Structure and Control of DNA origami’ as well as Dr Neil Thomson as your proposed supervisor.

We welcome scholarship applications from all suitably-qualified candidates, but UK black and minority ethnic (BME) researchers are currently under-represented in our Postgraduate Research community, and we would therefore particularly encourage applications from UK BME candidates. All scholarships will be awarded on the basis of merit.

If you require any further information please contact the Graduate School Office, e: maps.pgr.admissions@leeds.ac.uk