Multiscale mechanics: folded globular proteins as hydrogel Lego bricks


Contact Dr Lorna Dougan to discuss this project further informally.

Project description

Proteins are bionanomachines. These workhorses of the cell are responsible for a vast array of biological functions. Acting in isolation or as part of larger, often complex machinery, they perform their function through structural and mechanical changes. Mechanical properties are an essential property of biological scaffolds, where cell behaviour can be controlled by designing material scaffolds that incorporate specific structural and mechanical cues.

Proteins are semi-flexible polymer and biopolymer networks formed by semi-flexible polymers have emerged as a new class of biological soft matter systems with remarkable material properties, motivating many theoretical developments. Such theories include the mechanics and dynamics of individual semiflexible polymers, bundles and entangled solutions and non-affine approaches for disordered polymer networks.

You will join a multidisciplinary team to understand the physics of the building block (the folded protein) and its connectivity (the protein network). This will be achieved through a cross length scale, physics based approach which will translate knowledge of the nanoscale biophysics of folded proteins to the mesoscale architecture and function of novel folded protein hydrogels. Experimental techniques will include single molecule force spectroscopy, rheology and scattering

Entry requirements

Applications are invited from candidates with or expecting a minimum of a UK upper second class honours degree (2:1), and/or a Master's degree in physics, or a relevant science/engineering degree such as (but not limited to) chemistry, biology, chemical engineering, electronic engineering, mechanical engineering, or mathematics.

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

Additional staff contact

Dr David Brockwell (Biological Sciences) Dr David Head (Computing)

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 'Multiscale mechanics: folded globular proteins as hydrogel Lego bricks' as well as Dr Lorna Dougan 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: