Chemistry Scholarships

The Department typically admits 65-70 PhD and 90 - 100 MRes students each year. Funding for these students comes from a diverse range of sources, including the EPSRC, industry, scholarships and self-funded students. A selection of PhD Studentships currently available are detailed below or visit our other pages to find out more about MRes studentships.

Accordion - available studentships

The Interaction of Chirality and Spin in Paramagnetic Helicenes

A 48-month fully funded PhD position in synthetic chemistry and chiral materials is available within the research group of Royal Society University Research Fellow Dr Jochen Brandt. Whilst the position is primarily based in the Department of Chemistry, Imperial College London, the successful applicant will be part of several interdisciplinary networks; including the London Centre for Nanotechnology, Centre for Processable Electronics, and the Institute for Molecular Science and Engineering.

The work will involve the synthesis and characterisation of paramagnetic helicenes and helicene-transition metal complexes for investigations into the origins of the Chiral-Induced Spin Selectivity (CISS). In this newly discovered phenomenon, enantiopure chiral materials act as electron spin filters at room temperature. CISS has been implicated in a diverse array of research fields, including: spintronics (electronics which make use of electron spin as well as charge), biology (protein electron transport) and the generation of carbon-neutral fuels (through the more efficient generation of hydrogen from water).

The post holder will focus on synthetic chemistry, but will also take part in exciting multidisciplinary work with collaborators in computational chemistry, physics and the material sciences.


Funding notes and how to apply

The position is available to both UK and EU graduates holding or about to hold a Master’s degree in Chemistry (or equivalent). The studentship will provide full coverage of tuition fees and an annual tax-free stipend of approximately £17,000. Interested applicants are encouraged to contact Dr Jochen Brandt (j.brandt@imperial.ac.uk) by email, describing their research interests and experience, including an up-to-date CV. Please note that the formal application must be submitted through Imperial's online application system.

The application deadline is 11pm (British Summer Time) on Sunday, 2 August 2020 and the position is available for October 2020.


References

1. Brandt, J. R., Salerno, F. & Fuchter, M. J. The added value of small-molecule chirality in technological applications. Nat. Rev. Chem. 1, 0045 (2017). http://rdcu.be/th7m

2. Naaman, R., Paltiel, Y. & Waldeck, D. H. Chiral molecules and the electron spin. Nat. Rev. Chem. 3, 250–260 (2019).

EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Next Generation Synthesis & Reaction Technology (rEaCt)

Collage of researchers in the lab alongside the rEaCt and UKRI logos

Applications are invited for 4-year MRes/Ph.D. EPSRC CDT rEaCt studentship projects – Cohort 2 (Intake October 2020)

The mission of the EPSRC Next Generation Synthesis & Reaction Technology CDT is to educate a critical mass of researchers equipped to respond to future research challenges and opportunities created by the data-revolution. The aim is to train highly qualified researchers with the ability to collect data using automated, high-throughput reaction platforms, and to apply quantitative and statistical approaches to data analysis and utilisation. This will be achieved by incorporating cross-disciplinary skills from engineering, as well as computing, statistics, and informatics into a chemistry graduate programme, which are largely lacking from existing doctoral training in synthetic chemistry.

Please note that we are still taking applications. However, due to the spread of COVID-19 and its societal implications, interviews from here on are likely to be held on a virtual platform.


Available studentships

View a list of available studentship projects. Please note, on your application you can select your top three projects.


Fully funded EPSRC – and some industry-funded – studentships are available for Home Students and EU nationals who have been ordinarily resident in the UK for at least three years prior to the start date a CDT studentship, i.e. for a 1st Oct 2020 start date you would need to have been resident in the UK since 30th Sept 2017.

Self-funded overseas students are also welcome to apply.

About the CDT

Students in the lab

Driven by the impact of the 4th industrial revolution, the molecular sciences are embarking on a transformative journey where developments in technology and data science are blurring the lines between disciplines and between man and machine. Developments in robotics are driving the integrated control of lab hardware, enabling R&D workflow automation and big data sets essential to support machine learning.

In turn, this stimulates developments that can underpin smarter high-throughput approaches for data handling with the promise of offering unprecedented insights to molecular processes.

To get a broader idea of the CDT read the C&EN Magazine article on the CDT: Automation for the people: Training a new generation of chemists in data-driven synthesis.

Making Data Work for Chemistry

The rEaCt CDT aims to provide cross-sector training for a new generation of synthetic chemists with the interdisciplinary skills necessary for the challenges and opportunities created by the data-revolution in the 21st century.

The CDT assembles a multi-disciplinary team of internationally-leading researchers at Imperial College and benefits from significant strategic infrastructural and capital investment on cutting edge, state-of-the-art technology and facilities such as ROAR, and the Agilent Advanced Measurement Suite.

The rEaCt CDT Programme

MRes (Year 1)

The first year of the 4-year programme comprises of an MRes in Advanced Molecular Synthesis, where the CDT students will progress through an academic program of lectures and workshops on three core modules aimed at underpinning the fundamentals in synthetic chemistry, engineering and statistical sciences. Each student will also undertake a 9-month individual research project in a chosen area.

Ph.D. (Years 2 – 4)

Following the successful completion of the MRes, students will pursue their independent project in subsequent years.

All students will be encouraged to undertake a period of placement and internship, in an industrial or an academic collaborator’s lab, during or immediately after their Ph.D.

Profile of the Researcher produced by this CDT

  • With the interdisciplinary nature of the programme, students will be trained to tackle challenges in the field of synthetic chemistry, engineering and data science, with  high-level expertise in at least two of these areas.
  • Using the latest synthesis and analytical tools, our CDT alumni will also hold a high level of technical proficiency; to make, measure and model reactions, including automated reactors in combination with process/data analytical tools.

Click here for more on the CDT Programme >>

Applicant Requirements

Applicants should hold or expect to obtain a first or upper-second class honours degree or equivalent in Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, or a related field. A Master’s degree in one of the above fields is an essential requirement. Imperial College PhD entry requirements must be met.

Click here for more information on the application process for prospective students.

To apply, please email the Programme Manager, Jinata Subba with the following documents.

  • An up to date CV and scanned transcripts
  • A covering letter
  • Full contact details of two referees
  • List up to three projects of interest from the projects currently available

There is no deadline for application submission, but we will be conducting interviews soon so early applications are highly encouraged.

For further information please email the CDT Programme Manager, Jinata Subba.

Novel microfluidic organ on a chip technologies and artificial cells for therapeutics delivery

Funded by the CDT in Chemical Biology: Innovation in Life Sciences – 1+3 year PhD studentships - APPLY HERE

Dr Nazila Kamaly | Prof Oscar Ces

Technological advances in the fields of microfluidics and tissue engineering have enabled the establishment of biomimetic lab-on-a-chip systems that resemble human biology at the cellular, tissue and organ levels. These organs-on-a-chip platforms offer the exciting potential to enable screening and testing of drugs without the needs for animal or human testing. In this project we aim to develop a novel microfluidic platform that mimics the function and biology of the gut with a view to developing a new generation of therapeutics that are delivered orally. These novel therapeutics will be delivered using artificial cells that hijack transport systems within the body.

 

This is a highly exciting project that couples blue skies and applied research and will provide the successful applicant with a wealth of experience in microfluidics, artificial cell technologies, drug delivery and microscopy.

 

Ultrasensitive prostate cancer screening based on miRNA sensing from whole blood

Funded by the CDT in Chemical Biology: Innovation in Life Sciences – 1+3 year PhD studentships - APPLY HERE

Prof Joshua Edel |Dr Sylvain LadameDr Alex IvanovProf Charlotte Bevan

Current tests for the diagnosis, prognosis and stratification of prostate cancer suffer from two main drawbacks, being either invasive (requiring tissue biopsies) or inaccurate and therefore unreliable. Recent studies have highlighted the potential of microRNA (miRNA) as a minimally-invasive diagnostic and prognostic biomarker for various cancer types, including prostate. The main challenges with current miRNA sensing strategies relate to the naturally low abundance of these biomarkers in bodily fluids and high sequence homology between fragments. Besides, most technologies available to date cannot detect such biomarkers directly from whole blood and require heavy sample processing, which in the absence of standardised protocols can be a major source of error. While miRNAs have been reported as promising diagnostic biomarkers for prostate cancer, the lack of technologies enabling their direct and accurate detection from blood has prevented their broader use in new screening tests. As part of this project, we propose to improve diagnostic specificity beyond the PSA test by performing multiplexed detection of up to 5 miRNA biomarkers. This innovative technology has the potential to enable new blood tests for prostate cancer and future point-of-care devices, decreasing diagnostic uncertainty and improving quality of life.

Unravelling epigenetic drivers of chemo-resistance by optical editing of DNA-methylation in cells

Funded by the CDT in Chemical Biology: Innovation in Life Sciences – 1+3 year PhD studentships - APPLY HERE

Dr Marco Di Antonio | Prof Robert BrownDr Lorenzo Di Michele

Aberrant DNA-methylation is a well-established driver of acquired resistance in ovarian cancer, although such epigenomic changes occur within a high background of passenger events and current epigenetic chemical biology tools generally affect the entire epigenome rather than locus specific. This makes it challenging with current biological tools to investigate the role of key locus specific methylation events in resistance mechanisms. To overcome this, epigenetic editing using CRISPR-Cas9 fused to epigenetic modifiers is increasingly being evaluated, although current approaches have the limitation of not being inducible. To identify key drivers of resistance and demonstrate phenotypic effects, we aim to generate novel chemical ligands that enable light-controlled positioning of DNA-methylation writer and eraser (e.g. DNMTs and TETs) at specific genomic loci by means of CRISPR-Cas9. These chemical tools will disentangle the role of site-specific methylation in patient-derived cell-lines and xenografts. The light-controlled positioning of the epigenetic modifiers will enable temporal control of epigenetic modification, allowing evolution of resistance and its prevention or re-sensitisation to be studied in a time-dependent manner that is essential to study dynamic epigenetic-based processes such as acquired resistance to chemotherapy.

 

Next-generation biosensors for real-time, enhanced sensitivity antigen detection

Funded by the CDT in Chemical Biology: Innovation in Life Sciences – 1+3 year PhD studentships - APPLY HERE

 Dr Alex Ivanov | Dr Sara Goodchild | Prof Joshua EdelProf Tony Cass

The ability to measure biomarkers and trace analytes both specifically and selectively at the single- molecule level in biological fluids has the potential to transform the diagnosis, real-time screening, analyte seining for specific hazardous materials of high-profile defence interest. Strategies such as the use of nanopore sensors combined with functional molecular probes have been gaining in prominence not only for sequencing but more recently in screening applications. However, substantial challenges remain in achieving sufficient resolution to distinguish bound from unbound target analytes or in reaching detection of critical analytes that may be present at a very low level in biofluids. The proposed CDT project addresses the above limitations by delivering a new class of biosensors, of importance to the DstL, the research arm of the Ministry of Defence. The platform combines custom molecular probes and dielectrophoretic nanopore sensors, that are capable of selective analyte discrimination in near real-time at sub-pM and fM concentrations.

Four year PhD studentship in homogeneous catalysis (UK or EU students only)

‘Hyperelectrophiles’ for the catalytic oxidation of CH4 to CH3OH

Applications are sought for a CASE studentship in homogeneous catalysis and small molecule activation, funded by a partnership between EPSRC and Shell. The successful candidate will be supervised by Dr Andrew Ashley at the new state-of-the-art Molecular Sciences Research Hub, Imperial College London, starting October 2020.

Methane (CH4) is the most abundant hydrocarbon on the planet. Although it can be used as a fuel, it is difficult to store and transport (b.p. = –161°C), and its combustion produces CO2, a greenhouse gas. Methanol (CH3OH) is a readily transportable chemical (b.p. 65°C), and a cornerstone industrial compound that can be converted into myriad added-value products. CH4 is extremely unreactive, however, due to its high C-H bond strength and lack of kinetically accessible C-H activation pathways; when oxidation proceeds the initial products have weaker C-H bonds (e.g. CH3OH) which leads to overoxidation, leading to very poor selectivity. The direct and selective catalytic oxidation of CH4 to CH3OH with O2 (the only commercially-feasible terminal oxidant) is clearly an extremely attractive and lucrative goal, yet to date no industrially viable process exists for this transformation.

A major breakthrough showed that inexpensive and highly electrophilic main-group (p-block) compounds TlX3 and PbX4 (X = trifluoroacetate, CF3CO2–) can cleanly oxidise CH4 to form CH3X and HX, while being reduced to TlX and PbX2 respectively [Fig. 1(i)].[1] The reactivity is unfortunately stoichiometric because O2 is unable to regenerate Tl3+/Pb4+ from Tl+/Pb2+ [Fig. 1(ii)];[2] nevertheless, since CH3X can be hydrolysed to CH3OH and HX [Fig. 1(iii)], this extraordinary discovery is only a few steps away from realizing a true catalytic oxidation of CH4 to CH3OH process. Computational calculations reveal that CH3-H bond heterolysis by Tl(O2CCF3)3 occurs cooperatively through a weak Tl···O interaction (Fig. 2); this is strongly reminiscent of ‘frustrated Lewis pair’ (FLP) reactivity wherein bond cleavage of H2 is mediated by powerful LAs, and is an area in which the Ashley group (small molecule activation, energy and catalysis) has considerable expertise.[3-6]

This project will involve the synthesis of new ‘hyperelectrophilic’ MXn LAs (various counteranions X), which exhibit more favourable E0 (Mn+/M(n-2)+) redox couples to react directly with O2 (E0: O2/H2O = +1.23 V vs SHE), thereby regenerating the active catalyst for CH4 oxidation from MXn-2. Additionally, the research will target less corrosive and non-toxic reaction media than the current technology. The student will benefit from regular contact with industrial collaborators and visit their commerical site(s). This approach will thus develop the first catalytic protocols for the direct, and selective, oxidation of CH4 to CH3OH, using inexpensive hyperelectrophilic p-block Lewis acids.

Eligibility and Funding: Only UK or EU students are eligible. The position would suit an ambitious and highly motivated researcher with interests in organometallic chemistry and catalysis. A background in air-sensitive synthetic chemistry is desirable, with relevant previous research experience in academic laboratories essential. Funds will cover tuition fees and provide a tax-free stipend (starting £18,785 p.a.). Applicants should hold (or expect to be awarded) a Class 1 Masters degree (MSci, MChem) in Chemistry.

How to Apply: Interested candidates are encouraged to make informal contact ASAP with Dr Ashley by email (a.ashley@imperial.ac.uk), enclosing a CV. Formal applications are made through the Imperial College online application process; deadline 21 August 2020. Please make reference to the above project title in the Proposed Research Topic field. Interviews for short-listed candidates will be online and are expected to be held in September 2020.

Research group website

References: [1] (a) B. G. Hashiguchi, M. M. Konnick, S. M. Bischof, S. J. Gustafson, D. Devarajan, N. Gunsalus, D. H. Ess, R. A. Periana, Science 2014, 343, 1232–7; (b) C. R. King, N. Rollins, A. Holdaway, M. M. Konnick, R. A. Periana, D. H. Ess, Organometallics 2018, 37, 3045–54. [2] N. J. Gunsalus, A. Koppaka, S. H. Park, S. M. Bischof, B. G. Hashiguchi, R. A. Periana, Chem. Rev. 2017, 117, 8521–73. [3] D. J. Scott, M. J. Fuchter, A. E. Ashley, Chem. Soc. Rev. 2017, 136, 5689-5700. [4] T. J. Herrington, B. J. Ward, L. R. Doyle, J. McDermott, A. J. P. White, P. A. Hunt, A. E. Ashley, Chem. Commun. 2014, 50, 12753–6. [5] D. J. Scott, N. A. Phillips, J. S. Sapsford, A. C. Deacy, M. J. Fuchter, A. E. Ashley, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2016, 55, 14738–42. [6] J. S. Sapsford, D. Csókás, D. J. Scott, R. C. Turnell-Ritson, A. D. Piascik, I. Pápai, A. E. Ashley, ACS Catal. 2020, 10, 7573–83.

Computational modelling of corrosion processes at metal-electrolyte interfaces

Project description

ICL Chemistry department is offering a fully funded studentship to a highly motivated candidate. The position is immediately available. The project will be based in the Computational NanoElectrochemistry group of Dr. Clotilde Cucinotta, in the framework of a multidisciplinary project on developing and applying new theoretical methodologies for the operando modelling of electrochemical (EC) systems. You can find out more about the project here: Towards a Parameter-Free Theory for Electrochemical Phenomena at the Nanoscale (NanoEC).

Oxidation and corrosion in materials science and technology costing yearly billions of pounds to the UK economy and affecting multiple sectors, from metal consumption in biomedical implants to the corrosion of electronic circuits, from atmospheric corrosion, to the interrelated passivation and dissolution processes occurring in the eroding environments of the petrochemical industry.

In spite of the large variety of experimental and computational approaches adopted to rationalize different corrosion processes, relatively little is known of the electrochemistry of metal surfaces in realistic electrochemical environment, even for the simple case of metal aqueous electrolyte interfaces. Information on the local chemistry of the electrolyte in contact with the metal is essential e.g. to unravel the initial stages of metal oxidation.

In this project we will focus on the realistic simulation from first principles molecular dynamics of the interaction of metal (e.g. Cu, Ag, Fe, Ni and Mg) surfaces with the aqueous electrolyte, studying the formation and degradation of oxidising layers on the metal surfaces. In certain cases surface degrades (e.g. iron) in other cases protective films form (e.g. in stainless steel). We will develop molecular scale models for these processes with the aim of unravelling the fundamental mechanisms triggering surface degradation and protection.

Applications should be submitted ASAP through the College’s online application system, specifying Dr Cucinotta as a supervisor: 

Apply here >>

Required documentation includes CV, research proposal or personal statement, transcript, 2 references and IELTS results. Outstanding applications submitted prior to January 10th will be shortlisted for the President’s scholarship.

Interested candidates can email Dr Clotilde Cucinotta with enquires, with a transcript and a motivation letter.

Funding notes

UK/EU students are eligible for this studentship, which will cover tuition fees at UK/EU rate plus a stipend for three and ½ years. The position is available immediately and will stay open until a suitable candidate is found. We also welcome applications from students who have alternative funding available.

Applicants should demonstrate excellent communication skills and an outstanding academic record in Chemistry, Physics, Materials Science, or related discipline. Prior experience in density functional theory based calculations would be an advantage.

Computational modelling of electrochemical nanojunctions

Project Description

ICL Chemistry department is offering a fully funded studentship to a highly motivated candidate. The position is immediately available. The project will be based in the Computational NanoElectrochemistry group of Dr Clotilde Cucinotta, in the framework of a multidisciplinary project on developing and applying new theoretical methodologies for the operando modelling of electrochemical (EC) systems. You can find out more about the project here: Towards a Parameter-Free Theory for Electrochemical Phenomena at the Nanoscale (NanoEC).

In the last two decades, electrochemical (EC) nanojunctions (NJ)s have become a promising platform to study fundamental charge transport through a large variety of molecular moieties; from synthetic molecular backbones, to sensors, to more complex biomolecular structures.

EC molecular NJs (ECMNJs) are three terminal functional devices where an individual molecule covalently bridges the electrodes in EC environment. In such configuration, the application of an EC voltage gate can be exploited to move the molecular energy levels with respect to the electrodes’ fermi levels, opening a new way to modulate the conductance and study charge transport mechanisms in a nanoscale molecular device.

The atomistic understanding of the EC transformation occurring in ECMNJ is an almost unexplored niche in computational research and will be the focus of this project. Our starting point will be prototypic small ECMNJs made with synthetic backbones, which will allow to study systematically how the EC environment alters molecular junction and contacts, depending upon the chemical of the molecular backbone. This builds on preliminary results showing that the EC gating efficiency on ECMNJs displays a strong dependence on the length of the molecular bridge. To understand these experimental data, we will model explicitly double layer effects in the gap, using models of increasing realism. We will then simulate the complex charge transfer phenomena within ECMNJ including redox molecular units. To this end we develop novel theoretical and computational methodologies to perform molecular dynamics under bias and achieve an open-boundary description of the electrons, which in these systems must be free to enter and leave the computational cell. The project outcomes will bring clear answers to the transport and gating mechanisms in ECNJ.

This project will be developed in collaboration with Professor Horsefield at ICL and Dr Díez-Pérez (experiments) at Kings College London.

Applications should be submitted ASAP through the College’s online application system, specifying Dr Cucinotta as a supervisor:

Apply here >>

Required documentation includes CV, research proposal or personal statement, transcript, 2 references and IELTS results. Outstanding applications submitted prior to January 10th will be shortlisted for the President’s scholarship.

Interested candidates can email Dr Clotilde Cucinotta with enquires, with a transcript and a motivation letter.

Funding Notes

UK/EU students are eligible for this studentship, which will cover tuition fees at UK/EU rate plus a stipend for three and ½ years. The position is available immediately and will stay open until a suitable candidate is found. We also welcome applications from students who have alternative funding available.

Applicants should demonstrate excellent communication skills and an outstanding academic record in Chemistry, Physics, Materials Science, or related discipline. Prior experience in density functional theory based calculations would be an advantage.

DNA phase-separation as a general mean of regulating gene expression in hybrid cells

Funded by the Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarship Programme in Cellular Bionics – 3 year PhD studentships - APPLY HERE

Supervisors: Dr Marco Di AntonioDr Lorenzo Di Michele

Liquid-liquid phase separation is increasingly recognised as a key mechanism to regulate gene expression in living cells by controlling the accessibility of genetic material and its co-localisation with transcription machinery. Although mechanisms that trigger phase separation in biological cells are not fully understood, a similar control of transcriptional activation could be recapitulated in hybrid cells, engineered from the bottom-up by combining biological and man-made components. Programming the condensation of genetic material (DNA) and its co-localisation with cellular machinery is a particularly promising approach to regulate transcription. DNA aggregation can be induced by well-understood canonical and non-canonical secondary structures, and its occurrence can thus be controlled by a variety of physical stimuli, including temperature, crowding agents and exposure to certain ions. Herein, we propose to generate a hybrid cell system that can be transcriptionally activated by triggering nucleic-acid phase separation, offering an orthogonal solution to current methods that fully rely on small-molecule treatment (e.g. IPTG) and cannot be controlled easily by physical means. Besides offering an alternative method to regulate gene-expression in artificial cells, this project will yield insights on the fundamental physical processes that might be responsible of gene-regulation via liquid-liquid phase separation in living cells.

 

DNA-nanotechnology tools for synthetic cell mimics

Dr Lorenzo Di Michele

UK/EU students only, available from 1 October 2019

Bottom-up synthetic biology aims at constructing artificial cells, micron-scale entities that replicate typical functionalities of biological cells, such as regulated metabolism, communication and adaptation to their environment. Artificial cells offer vast applicability as biosensing systems and nanomedical devices, while helping researchers to unravel the molecular mechanisms underlying biological complexity in a simplified setting. These microreactors are often constructed from a semi-permeable compartment playing the role of the cell membrane, supporting or encapsulating various active elements that enable sensing, communication and information processing.

DNA nanotechnology enables exquisite control over the structure and dynamic response of nanoscale objects constructed from synthetic DNA molecules, making it ideal for the production of nanomachines and structural elements that mimic biological ones, and can thus be applied in the context of artificial-cell research.

This PhD project aims a developing new DNA-nanotech tools that can enhance the capabilities of artificial cells. These include synthetic membrane receptors for sensing environmental cues, signalling and communication protocols to implement collective behaviours in artificial-cell consortia, and responsive structural elements that mimic the cytoskeleton and can alter the morphological and structural features of the artificial cells.

The student will design responsive DNA nanosystems (aided by computer tools), assemble and characterise them in the lab, and finally integrate them with synthetic cellular mimics. Depending on the student’s interests and skillset, experiments may be complemented by theoretical analysis and coarse-grained computer simulations.

The candidate should hold a master’s degree in physics, chemistry, materials or a closely related discipline, preferably with interest or experience on soft nanomaterials. Experience with computer programming would be highly beneficial.

Most important, the candidate should share our curiosity and enthusiasm for research! 

Note that Lorenzo’s group, currently based at the University of Cambridge, will move to Imperial College, Department of Chemistry in August 2019.


Details

  • Location: Molecular Science Research Hub, White City Campus, Department of Chemistry of Imperial College London.
  • Start date: 01/10/2019
  • Duration: 3.5 years
  • Eligibility: UK/EU
  • Deadline for applications: 31 May 2019

Application process

To apply, please send via email to Lorenzo Di Michele (ld389@cam.ac.uk) the following material before 31 May 2019:

  • Covering letter (max 1 page)
  • CV (max 2 pages)
  • 2 letters of references

Shortlisted candidates will be contacted shortly after the deadline for an interview on skype or in person.


Further information

For further information, please contact Dr Lorenzo Di Michele:

Engineering motile artificial cells capable of swimming up concentration gradients

Funded by the Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarship Programme in Cellular Bionics – 3 year PhD studentships - APPLY HERE

Supervisors: Dr Lorenzo Di MicheleDr Yuval ElaniProf Pietro Cicuta

Billions of years of evolution shaped cells into highly sophisticated micromachines, whose intricate network of molecular interactions are difficult to unravel. Bottom-up synthetic biology aims at constructing artificial cells by combining a small number of molecular agents into compartmentalised microenvironments. This reductionist approach enables the study of biological processes in a simplified setting. More importantly however, it offers the opportunity of producing smart cell-like agents to tackle pressing needs in diagnostics, therapeutics, biosynthesis, and bioremediation. Most attempts at engineering life-like ‘behaviours’ into artificial cells have focused on metabolism, energy generation, computation, and communication. One behaviour which has been neglected so far is motility: directed motion towards a target site. Motility (e.g. swimming and crawling) is a characteristic that is found across all life classes: from unicellular photosynthetic organisms that perform vertical migrations to optimise light exposure, swimming sperm cells, and macrophages that chase down pathogens. In most instances, cells are able to direct their motion following environmental cues, typically gradients in light intensity (phototaxis), temperature (thermotaxis), or the concentration of chemicals (chemotaxis). Despite the unquestionable benefits that controllable taxis would bring for most foreseen applications of artificial cells, viable technologies for engineering motion in synthetic cells have not been developed. This is because the protein assemblies needed to drive motility (e.g. flagella) are the most complex macromolecular structures in existence, and reconstituting them into synthetic systems is simply not possible using current state of the art. In this project we will develop a cellular bionics solution to this challenge: instead of using native cellular machineries, we will develop novel nanotechnologies based on DNA biophysics to propel a synthetic cell forwards, up a concentration gradient, with cell engineered to elicit a response (protein synthesis) when reaching its target site.

 

Engineering synthetic cell ‘translators’ to mediate human-cell communication

Funded by the Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarship Programme in Cellular Bionics – 3 year PhD studentships - APPLY HERE

Supervisors: Dr Yuval ElaniDr Laura BarterProf Oscar Ces

Synthetic biology can be divided into two distinct approaches. The first is the top-down approach, where cells are modified using metabolic and genetic engineering techniques. The second is concerned with the bottom-up construction of membrane-bound microsystems — artificial cells — that resemble biological cells in form and function. The current state-of-the-art involves using lipid vesicles as chassis that are functionalised with biomolecular machinery allowing cellular processes to be mimicked. Until now, these approaches have largely evolved in isolation from one another. The aim of this project is to bridge this divide by chemically networking synthetic cells with engineered biological ones on a population level using through-space communication. The student will design a suite of stimuli-responsive synthetic cells that can induce activation of a DNA programme in living E. coli in response to external stimuli. The artificial cells will act as intermediaries between a human user and a living biological cell, capable of ‘translating’ an external signal into a language that living cells can understand and act upon. This approach will effectively allow microbes to respond to cues that are entirely different from the ones they have evolved to respond to.

For more details contact Yuval Elani at y.elani@imperial.ac.uk

EPSRC CDT in Smart Medical Imaging opens recruitment for 2020 student cohort

The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Smart Medical Imaging at King’s College London and Imperial College London is now accepting applications for fully-funded PhD studentships beginning in September 2020.

Students at the CDT typically follow a 1 + 3 pathway spending their first year studying for the newly designed MRes in Healthcare Technologies at King’s College London, and then the remainder of their course on their PhD research project (N.B. a 0 + 4 pathway is sometimes possible for candidates with excellent and relevant prior experience). Research projects fit into at least one of the CDT’s four smart medical imaging themes: AI-enabled imaging, Smart Imaging Probes, Emerging Imaging and Affordable Imaging.

Professor Nick Long (Chemistry), deputy director of the CDT in Smart Medical Imaging said:

“Our vision is to train the next generation of medical imaging researchers, leveraging the full potential of medical imaging for healthcare through integration of artificial intelligence, targeted, responsive and safer imaging probes, cutting-edge emerging and affordable imaging solutions, within a unique multi-disciplinary environment of imaging scientists, engineers, clinicians and other healthcare professionals.”

Why Join Us

  • Fully funded PhD studentships, including generous research consumables and conference travel, with exposure to international imaging labs and healthcare industry placements;
  • Research excellence in Smart Medical Imaging within a unique multi-disciplinary hospital environment in Central London (St. Thomas’ Hospital), with state-of-the-art labs and clinical research imaging facilities within both King’s and Imperial (based at South Kensington or White City campuses).
  • Choice of a large number of innovative PhD projects, supervised by internationally renowned academics from Imperial College London and/or King’s College London, with direct input from world-leading clinical academics of our associated NHS Hospital Trusts;
  • Close healthcare industry involvement in selective research projects, with paid internships and on-site clinical application specialists from major industry partners;
  • Emphasis on research collaboration through PhD cohort building and interdisciplinary research training, and transferable skills training for outstanding employability;
  • Access to large UK research initiatives and infrastructure, such as the new £10m London Medical Imaging & Artificial Intelligence Centre for Value-Based Healthcare, the NVIDIA AI initiative at King’s and the new London high-field 7T MR centre based at King’s.

For more information, visit the CDT’s website.

EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Chemical Biology: Innovation in Life Sciences

infographic

The ICB CDT is a postgraduate training programme, which forms the heart of the ICB at Imperial College London. The ICB is an institute which brings together more than 130 research groups across Imperial College London with 20 industrial partners and a SME business club with over 40 members.

The aim of the ICB CDT, one of the longest standing CDTs in the UK, is to train students in the art of multidisciplinary Chemical Biology research, giving them the exciting opportunity to develop the next generation of molecular tools and technologies for making, measuring, modelling and manipulating molecular interactions in biological systems. Students on the programme apply these advances to tackle key biological/biomedical problems and clinical/industrial challenges. In addition, students gain experience of industry 4.0 technologies such as 3-D printing, machine learning and robotics with a view to increasing the impact of Chemical Biology research.  This is a skill set which is in great demand from industry and addresses the future needs of employers in the pharmaceutical, biomedical, healthcare, personal care, biotech, agri-science and SME sectors.

To find out more or to apply to our 4 year studentships, visit our webpage at https://www.imperial.ac.uk/chemical-biology/cdt

PhD in DNA nanotechnology and bottom-up synthetic biology

PhD in DNA nanotechnology and bottom-up synthetic biology

The group of Dr Lorenzo Di Michele at the Department of Chemistry of Imperial College London is looking to recruit a PhD student to carry out experimental work at the interface of DNA nanotechnology and bottom-up synthetic biology, as a part of a project recently funded by a ERC starting grant (NANOCELL – A DNA nanotechnology toolkit for artificial cell design).

 Bottom-up synthetic biology aims at constructing artificial cells, micron-scale entities that replicate typical functionalities of biological cells, such as regulated metabolism, communication and adaptation to their environment. Artificial cells offer vast applicability as biosensing systems and nanomedical devices, while helping researchers to unravel the molecular mechanisms underlying biological complexity in a simplified setting. These microreactors are often constructed from a semi-permeable compartment playing the role of the cell membrane, supporting or encapsulating various active elements that enable sensing, communication and information processing.

DNA nanotechnology enables exquisite control over the structure and dynamic response of nanoscale objects constructed from synthetic DNA molecules, making it ideal for the production of nanomachines and structural elements that mimic biological ones, and can thus be applied in the context of artificial-cell research.

This PhD project aims a developing new DNA-nanotech tools that can enhance the capabilities of artificial cells. These include synthetic membrane receptors for sensing environmental cues, signalling and communication protocols to implement collective behaviours in artificial-cell consortia, and responsive structural elements that mimic the cytoskeleton and can alter the morphological and structural features of the artificial cells.

            The student will design responsive DNA nanosystems (aided by computer tools), assemble and characterise them in the lab, and finally integrate them with synthetic cellular mimics. Depending on the student’s interests and skillset, experiments may be complemented by theoretical analysis and coarse-grained computer simulations.

            The candidate should hold a master’s degree in physics, physical chemistry, or a closely related discipline, preferably with interest or experience on soft matter or biophysics. Experience with computer programming would be highly beneficial.

Most important, the candidate should share our curiosity and enthusiasm for research!

 For further information, please contact Dr Lorenzo Di Michele (l.di-michele@imperial.ac.uk)

 Details

Location: Molecular Science Research Hub, White City Campus, Department of Chemistry, Imperial College London.

Start date: 01/10/2020

Duration: 4 years

Eligibility: UK and EU nationals.

 Application process

To apply, please send via email to Lorenzo Di Michele (ld389@cam.ac.uk) the following material before 15/02/2020

  • Covering letter (max 1 page)

  • CV (max 2 pages)

  • 2 letters of references

Shortlisted candidates will be contacted shortly after the deadline for an interview on skype or in person.

PhD Studentship in nanomedicines for heart disease

PhD Studentship in nanomedicines for heart disease

Project title: ”Synthesis and development of stimuli-responsive nanomedicines for heart disease therapy”

The Kamaly group uses bioinspired approaches to create multi-functional nanoparticles capable of changing their surface or core properties in response to local or up-regulated disease markers for more effective and smart stimuli-responsive drug delivery. In this manner, potent biological therapeutics (such as enzymes) can be delivered in a spatiotemporally controlled manner, with the aim of reducing enzyme degradation, systemic toxicity and collateral damage to the host. Inparticular we are interested in the synthesis of nanogels with diverse properties that can be designed to facilitate ‘smart’ drug delivery in response to up-regulated disease biomarkers.

Nanogels are nanometer-sized nanoparticles that have the ability to retain high volumes of water or biological fluids, and maintain their structure. This excellent and unique property makes them an ideal nanoplatform for the delivery of biological drugs such as enzymes. Nanogels have superior properties as they offer: 1) encapsulation stability for biologically sensitive payloads, 2) they have low immunogenicity and toxicity, and can be designed to be fully biodegradable, 3) multiple biological payloads can be delivered in a single nanogel, facilitating combination therapies, 4) their synthesis can be aqueous based and easily scaled, and 5) they are soft nanoparticles that can easily squeeze through restricted sites under haemodynamic sheer flow.

Nanogels are prepared via the heterogeneous polymerisation of monomers or precursors by either chemical or physical cross-linking. Furthermore, nanogels can be created to be responsive to a wide variety of environmental stimuli such as enzymes, temperature, pH and ionic strength. They are extremely versatile since these functionalities can be bestowed within their monomer design. This strategy of triggered disintegration makes cross-linked polymeric nanogels a promising system for the controlled delivery of biologics.

 Project aim: According to the WHO, each year, 17.9 million people die from cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), mostly due to heart attacks and stroke – with CVDs accounting for 31% of all deaths worldwide, making this disease the number 1 cause of death globally. This project aims to develop novel nanogel therapies for catalytic pharmacological thrombolysis in the event of acute myocardial infarctions (heart attacks), whereby blood clots that block arteries can rapidly be broken down due the action of locally delivered enzymes. This new strategy aims to develop an intelligent drug delivery system that can precisely target the thrombus (blood clot that forms in vessels and remains there). The project will involve the synthesis of nanogels for the delivery of fibrinolytic enzymes. In the first instance monomer libraries (that will allow stimuli-responsive release of enzymes) will be synthesized and characterized, and applied to nanogel synthesis using polymerisation in confined droplets. Depending on their level of skills and interest, the student may also carry out experiments to test the biological efficacy of the nanogels. The project would be suitable for candidates with a synthetic chemistry background, interested in pursuing a PhD within a highly multidisciplinary environment.

 

Studentships are fully funded starting 1st October 2019. Applicants from the UK and EU are eligible for a full award (which includes full university fees and a maintenance allowance).

 

Applications must be submitted as one pdf file containing all materials to be given consideration. The file should include:

 

    • A cover letter describing your motivation (1 page)
    • Curriculum vitae
    • Details of 2 academic referees

 

The ideal candidate should hold a Master level degree in synthetic chemistry, polymer chemistry or a related field. The applicant should have a strong academic record, be fluent in English, with excellent communication skills, and interested in working within a collaborative and cross-disciplinary environment.

To find out more please get in touch with Dr. Nazila Kamaly via email: nazila.kamaly@imperial.ac.uk

Applications should be made through the College application form, which can be found at: https://www.imperial.ac.uk/study/pg/apply/how-to-apply/apply-for-a-research-programme-/ no later than August 15th 2019.

 

PhD Studentship in Polyester Plastic Recycling Using Low-cost Ionic Liquids

We are inviting applications of motivated candidates for a PhD studentship in the exciting field of ‘Advanced plastic recycling’. The studentship includes fees and a bursary for suitable UK national/residents for the duration of 3 years. The studentship is available for a start from 1 October 2019. The deadline for application is 8 January 2019.

Persistent pollution of the environment with plastic is a major challenge. At the same time, plastic is also a valuable resource, and the best outcome after their initial use is recycling into a new product rather than landfilling, incineration or persisting in the environment. One reason for the low effectiveness of plastic recycling and limited value of post-consumer plastic are issues with mechanical recycling (remoulding), due to general degradation of the polymer structure and contamination with components such as metals, dyes, and labels. Renewable and non-renewable polyesters are a major part of the plastic economy. The amount of polyethylene terehtalate (PET) produced in 2015 was 33 million tonnes according to the World Economic Forum; it is the fourth most common plastic, used in drink bottles, food packaging and textiles. Emerging renewable and biodegradable polyester materials, for example polylactic acid (PLA), will also need high quality recycling routes to retain their economic value. Such polyesters are suitable candidates for a new route to plastic recycling called chemical recycling, where the polymer is deconstructed into its building blocks, which can then be recovered in purified form and used to produce virgin grade material.

 Ionic liquids are a new class of solvents that have interesting and unique properties such as non-volatility, in-built catalytic functionality and a broad range of solvation characteristics that can be tuned to suit an application. In this project, we will explore the use of stable, low-cost ionic liquids for the recycling of polyesters. The successful candidate will screen a range of suitable ionic solvents and optimise their composition for effectiveness and low cost, followed by optimising processing conditions and recovery of a range of polyester monomers, while monitoring the fate of contaminants. The new system will be compared with other chemical recycling approaches. Once we have identified an effective system, we will carry out an economic assessment.

 You will join two dynamic interdisciplinary research teams focusing on sustainable materials analysis and process development; applicants should have excellent understanding of physical science and / or chemical engineering, with a deep interest in sustainable chemistry, solvent selection, polymer characterisation and process development, combined with outstanding teamwork and communication skills and a passion to make a true positive difference to the global environment. Some experience with examining reaction mechanisms and molecular structure is preferable. Candidates should have (or be expecting to have) a Master’s degree (1st class or upper second class) in chemistry, chemical engineering or a relevant discipline. 

This PhD studentship will be funded through the DTP ‘Science and Solutions for a Changing Planet’ supported by the UK's Natural Environment Research Council (https://www.imperial.ac.uk/grantham/education/science-and-solutions-for-a-changing-planet-dtp/). It is open to UK home students or non-UK students who have settled status in UK or were ordinarily residing in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of the studentship. The studentship will cover tuition fees plus the standard London-weighted maintenance stipend of £16,777 per year.

Resins Project

Resins Project: ionosolv lignin as replacement of phenol in resins and adhesives

In order to limit climate change, it is key that we decarbonise our economy extensively and rapidly. While renewable energy technologies such as wind and solar can provide reneable electricity, we also need to find alternative raw materials for the chemical industry, which currently relies on petroleum as a feedstock for virtually all organic chemicals. Wood or lignocellulosic biomass is a readily available source for sustainable carbon and will provide a new generation of chemical building blocks in a timely manner. A number of woody plants can be grown in high yields in diverse locations worldwide with low inputs.

At Imperial, we have developed the ionosolv biorefining technology which fractionates any type of lignocellulosic biomass, including non-recyclable waste wood into the biorefining intermediates cellulose and lignin. The technology produces these intermediates at unprecedent low cost in a clean process by utilising ultra-low-cost ionic liquids. The ionosolv technology is being commercialised by biorefining start-up Chrysalix Technologies, who is co-funding this project and keen to identify new applications for its novel lignin output.

In this project, you will be developing ionosolv lignin as a replacement of phenol in resins and adhesives. The global resin industry is a major user of phenol and consumed 2.9 million tonnes of petrochemical phenol in 2016. Lignin has great promise in this application both in terms of matching or potentially exceeding the performance of the petroleum product and lower pricing than the petrochemical phenol. Lignin containing resins have been reported to have lower residual formaldehyde levels, making the biobased resin a healthier product to use.

As part of the project, you will develop protocols for producing and testing resins from lignin, with the goal of maximising the amount of phenol substitution while maintaining resin performance. You will study the underlying chemical and rheological properties of lignin that dominate resin performance and compare a variety of ionosolv lignins derived from different sustainable wood feedstocks with conventional resins and resins based on other technical lignins.

You will join two dynamic interdisciplinary research teams in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering focusing on sustainable materials analysis and process development, as well as an adventurous, pragmatic start-up team. Applicants should have an excellent understanding of physical science, material science and / or chemical engineering, combined with outstanding teamwork and communication skills and a deep interest in biomass conversion and materials development, and a passion for transforming the chemical industry. The studentship is funded through the Science and Solutions for a changing planet DTP and is for 3.5 years. It includes a London weighted UKRI stipend (£17,009/ year), Home tuition fees and a £5,000 consumables budget (over the 3.5 years).

Any questions and to apply, please email Dr Agi Brandt-Talbot agi@imperial.ac.uk. We require a CV, a cover letter and details of two independent referees. Closing date is 12 January.

Understanding how (bio)molecular machines work

Understanding how (bio)molecular machines work 

Dr. Maxie Roessler

https://www.imperial.ac.uk/people/m.roessler

m.roessler@imperial.ac.uk

 Oxidation-reduction reactions underpin innumerable chemical reactions - and much of the chemistry of life. Our group investigates how oxidation-state changes govern respiration and photosynthesis and how nature has fine-tuned the redox properties of its many intricate molecular machines. Redox reactions often involve transition metal ions and we are investigating the properties, structure and bonding of transition-metal centres in biological as well as synthetic molecular machines. Our work is highly interdisciplinary and collaborative, and spans from physical/materials chemistry to biological and bioinorganic chemistry.

 Many redox reactions proceed via radical intermediates and these are frequently located in mechanistically key locations. We use electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy as a powerful method for obtaining detailed information on the structure and bonding of these ubiquitous spin centres. Electrochemistry on the other hand, in particular film electrochemistry, provides insight into the redox reactions. Our research is focused on understanding the molecular mechanism of some of the most complex molecular machines known: respiratory and photosynthetic complex I, catalysts that play essential roles in respiration and photosynthesis, respectively. In addition to generating new fundamental chemical knowledge, understanding how these enzymes work paves the way to healthier ageing and enhancing crop yields through managing plant stress tolerance. Moreover,

this new fundamental understanding can sometimes be exploited to guide the design of man-made materials. Advancing the methodologies available for the study of complex (bio)molecular machines constitutes another important aspect of our work, in a project that ventures into materials science and engineering.  We currently collaborate closely with researchers at the University of Cambridge, the Medical Research Council (Cambridge) and Queen Mary University of London, and there will also be opportunities to collaborate within Imperial College.  

We are looking to recruit an outstanding Masters level graduate in Chemistry or a related subject, with a strong interest in developing and applying novel (bio)chemical and spectroscopic tools to advance biology. The PhD studentship is fully funded for 3.5 years. The prospective PhD student is encouraged to get in touch via e-mail with a detailed CV and explaining his/her interests and research experience. There is scope to tailor the project towards physical or biological chemistry, depending on the background and interests of the applicant. Please see http://www.imperial.ac.uk/roessler-lab/ for further details on current research and a full list of recent publications. The successful candidate will receive training in EPR spectroscopy, electrochemistry, protein purification and nanomaterials design, fabrication and characterization. The PhD student will further benefit from working in the state of the art Molecular Sciences Research Hub, the new research home for the Department of Chemistry at Imperial’s White City campus, with access to cutting-edge magnetic characterization facilities of SPIN-Lab at the South Kensington Campus. 

The studentship will be filled as soon as a suitable candidate has been found. Candidates are therefore encouraged to get in touch as soon as possible.  

Recent relevant publications

  • M. M. Roessler and E. Salvadori, 'Principles and Applications of EPR Spectroscopy in the chemical sciences', Chemical Society Reviews, 2018, 47 (8), 2534-2553

  • N. le Breton, J. J. Wright, A.J.Y.J. Jones, E. Salvadori, H. R. Bridges, J. Hirst, M. M. Roessler, 'Using EPR Hyperfine Spectroscopy to define the Proton-Coupled Electron Transfer Reaction at Fe-S cluster N2 in Respiratory Complex I', J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2017, 139 (45), 16319-16326, Spotlight Article

  • M. Cirulli, A. Kaur, J. E. M. Lewis, Z. Zhang, J. A. Kitchen, S. M. Goldup, M. M. Roessler, ‘Rotaxane-Based Transition Metal Complexes: Effect of the Mechanical Bond on Structure and Electronic Properties’, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2019, 141 (2), 879-889

Unlocking a new toolkit for mediating protein-based interactions between synthetic cells and real cells

Funded by the Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarship Programme in Cellular Bionics – 3 year PhD studentships - APPLY HERE

Supervisors: Dr Rudiger Woscholski Prof Oscar Ces

A major bottleneck in the field of cellular bionics and bottom-up synthetic biology is the ability to decorate and functionalise the chassis of synthetic cells with user defined proteins. Unlocking this technology bottleneck would transform our ability to mediate interactions between synthetic cells and between synthetic cells and real cells across extended length scales including tissues based materials. This project will lead to the development of a new generation of artificial lipids that are able to reversibly bind proteins thereby revolutionising our ability to functionalise cellular bionic systems. We will validate this strategy by using this approach to modulate communication between synthetic cells and real cells at the single cell level. In addition by making use of extracellular proteins we will manufacture hybrid tissues that accommodate living and synthetic cells.

 

Unveiling the electronic transport and optical properties of networks of two-dimensional materials

PhD studentship - Unveiling the electronic transport and optical properties of networks of two-dimensional materials: from transition metal dichalchogenides to MXenes.

Applications are invited for a fully-funded PhD studentship to work on Anisotropic nanostructured materials based on graphene and 2D materials for thermal management and heat dissipation in next generation electronic circuits, specifically in flexible and wearable electronics.

Description: After the isolation of graphene in 2004 [Science 306:666], a wide range of 2DMs (e.g. Boron Nitride (BN), Molybdenum Disulphide (MoS2) and Tungsten Disulphide (WS2)) have radically changed the science and technology landscape with attractive physical properties for (opto)electronics, sensing, catalysis and energy storage [Nature 490:192; Nanoscale:DOI:10.1039/C4NR01600A]. In addition, MXenes are a new class of 2D transition metal carbides, carbonitrides and nitrides, which have been discovered recently. They have already shown great promise as potential electrode materials for various energy storage devices, including supercapacitors,[PNAS 111:16676] and batteries [Nat. Commun. 6:6544]. 2DM dispersions and inks are also available. The 2DM inks can be printed, coated or laminated on a variety of flexible substrates enabling flexible electronics. However, the poly-disperse nature of the exfoliated flakes in terms of number of layers and size in the 2DM inks is a major drawback for their widespread use. Moreover, the network structure of printed/coated 2DM films is constituted of grain boundaries and flake that that give rise to a complex transport mechanism, which cannot be represented by the simple transport in 2D crystals. Given the unique set of competences of the Torrisi’s and Nicolosi’s groups in 2DM synthesis and ink optimisation, electron microscopy and electro-optical characterisation for 2DM, thin films, and prototype devices, this project will answer the following research questions: What is the electronic transport mechanism of networks 2D materials? Does it depend on the dimensionality of the 2DMs?

Taking Mxenes and Transition Metal Dichalchogenides, TMD (MoS2 and WS2) as model 2DMs, this project will engage the student into synthesis of MXenes by chemical etching and TMDs by Liquid Phase Exfoliation at TCD and Imperial, respectively. The 2DMs will be characterised by XRD and Electron Microscopy techniques (e.g. aberration corrected STEM. HRTEM, EDX and EELS) at TCD to estimate their defect density, functionalisation, number of layers and morphology. At Imperial, the 2DM inks will be then be deposited by various coating and printing techniques, forming films with different packing and flake orientation. The resulting films will be investigated by low temperature electrical conductivity and mobility measurements as well as magneto-transport measurement using a He-cooled cryostat probe setup. This will reveal the temperature-dependent mechanisms of electrical conductivity in the 2DM films and the role of dimensionality of the 2DM in the charge carriers hopping. Moreover, Quantum Hall effect will be investigated as a mean to shine further insights on the presence of quantum coherence throughout the nanostructured films. Optical characterisation will be coupled with electrical measurements to investigate the linear and non-linear photoresponse of the 2DM networks from different priPublish Nownting configurations. This work will shine new light on a large section of 2DM family unveiling the mechanisms underpinning the electrical and optical properties and paving the way to design and optimisation of all-printed 2DM devices and electro-optical systems. The student will be fully incorporated into the Molecular Science Research Hub offering a unique opportunity to interact with teams of researchers working on Synthesis, Nanomaterials, Energy, Imaging & Sensing, Plastic Electronics.

Applicants need to have, or expect to achieve, a first-class or a high 2:1 degree in Engineering, Chemistry, Physics, Chemical Engineering, Nanotechnology or Material Science. Applicants from the UK and EU are eligible for a full award, full University fees and a maintenance allowance.

Overseas / Non-EU applicants are eligible for a fees only award, but can still join the programme if recipient of external scholarships covering the full costs.

Interested students should email a CV and 2 reference letters to Dr F. Torrisi (f.torrisi@imperial.ac.uk). Applications should be made by following the instructions at: https://www.jobs.ac.uk/job/BWA878/phd-studentships-epsrc-and-sfi-centre-for-doctoral-training-in-advanced-characterisation-of-materials-cdtacm  no later than 5th January 2020. Please specify “Unveiling the electronic transport and optical properties of networks of two-dimensional materials: from transition metal dichalchogenides to MXenes” as the title of the PhD project.

wearable nano-electronics: wearable electronic devices based on graphene and other layered materials

Wearable Nano-Electronics: Wearable electronic devices based on graphene and other layered materials (in collaboration with Google Advanced Technologies and Projects and the University of Cambridge)

Wearable electronics are at the core of academic and industrial research and development in the strategic areas of healthcare and wellbeing, Energy generation and harvesting. Wearable electronics currently relies on rigid and flexible electronic technologies, which offer limited skin-compatibility in many circumstances, suffer washing and are uncomfortable to wear because they are not breathable. Turning natural fibres and textiles into electronic components will address these issues, by unlocking ultimately wearable electronics potential through electronic textiles.

The 2DWEB group has demonstrated that graphene and other two-dimensional materials enable superior wearable electronic textile devices, such as transistors and memories (T. Carey et al., Nature Comms. 8, 1202, 2017). The aim of this PhD project is to develop a new class of wearable electronic devices based on inks and composites of graphene and other layered materials, their supramolecular structures and hybrid platforms, combining the versatile properties of layered materials with fibres and textiles. The electrical and optical properties of such devices will be characterised aiming at wearable electronic applications, such as biosensors and bio-medical devices devices.

This is a highly innovative PhD project, with a strong interdisciplinary nature, across chemistry, nanoscience, physics and electronics of two-dimensional materials aiming at the realization of novel wearable devices for several applications such as the Internet of Things, Body Area Networks, Healthcare and Wellbeing devices and Smart fabrics. The project also provides an exciting opportunity to work across the  research fields of printed electronics and two-dimensional materials (Dr Torrisi), chemistry of nanomaterials (Dr Siva Bohm, University of Cambridge)  and future wearable technologies (Google ATAP).

The student will be fully incorporated into the Molecular Science Research Hub offering a unique opportunity to interact with teams of researchers working on Synthesis, Nanomaterials, Energy, Imaging & Sensing, Plastic Electronics.

Applicants need to have, or expect to achieve, a first-class or a high 2:1 degree in Engineering, Chemistry, Physics, Chemical Engineering, Nanotechnology or Material Science. Applicants from the UK and EU are eligible for a full award, full University fees and a maintenance allowance.

Overseas / Non-EU applicants are eligible for a fees only award, but can still join the programme if recipient of external scholarships covering the full costs.

Interested students should email a CV and 2 reference letters to Dr F. Torrisi (f.torrisi@imperial.ac.uk). Applications should be made through the College application form, which can be found at: https://www.imperial.ac.uk/study/pg/apply/how-to-apply/apply-for-a-research-programme-/ no later than 30th June 2019.