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We're always happy to hear from undergraduates, graduates and Postdocs that are excited by the research of the group. We will be offering several projects for MEng and MSc students, so please check them out. For excellent graduate students, it is possible to apply for funding through the Department or the College, so contact Tom if interested. Tom is also potentially able to support applications for independent Postdoctoral/fellowship positions.

PhD position: Persistent biochemical computation for sense and respond applications. 

We invite applications for a UKRI-EPSRC Industrial CASE 4-year PhD studentship, "Persistent biochemical computation for sense and respond applications". This experimental project will be a collaboration between Dr Thomas Ouldridge’s "Principles of Molecular Systems" group [1] within the Department of Bioengineering at Imperial College London, and Dr Neal Hopkins at DSTL [2]. Students interested in interdisciplinary work at the interface of biology, chemistry, physics and engineering are encouraged to apply. 

Biological systems sense and respond to their changing environment as an essential enabler of survival. Engineering Biology to undertake related operations in designed sensing applications is an attractive prospect; the student will seek to engineer a persistent biochemical “computational system” that can support sense and respond functions over time.  

DNA nanotechnology [3] provides a tangible foundation to build from, but the current state-of-the art focuses on single-shot systems, rather than continuously responsive devices. Key questions that arise in moving to more lifelike, continuously responsive systems include: How can such a system be fuelled and sustained? How can essential functions operate consistently (e.g. maintaining functional resilience throughout environmental variations in temperature or biochemical flux). How can an event log be composed from biochemical parts to form a memory of system operation? How can response functions that are triggered by multimodal stimuli be coordinated? How can other native biochemical computational/information networks (e.g. cascades of metabolic processes, phosphorylation or allosteric assemblies) interface with a central DNA computational hub?  

Under the supervision of Dr Ouldridge and Dr Hopkins, and in collaboration with other members of the relevant research groups, the student will leverage computational and modelling tools for rational design of sensing systems, then test the designs in wet lab experiments. This process will be iterated to take advantage of what is learnt at each stage. Candidates from a wide range of backgrounds, with a degree in engineering, physical or life sciences, will be considered. However, experience in a wet lab is highly desirable, as is a track record of implementing molecular reactions in vitro. Prior work with nucleic acids would be beneficial. 

To apply for this position, please email a single PDF file including: a (1 page max) cover letter describing your interests and research experience, a CV detailing academic performance (including grades/marks) and names and contact information of two referees, to Dr Thomas Ouldridge ( Candidates will be considered continuously until the position is filled, on a first-come-first served basis.  

Funding Notes: 

This project is funded by the UKRI through the EPSRC as an Industrial CASE studentship. DSTL will also contribute funds to the project as an industrial partner. Funding includes payment of college fees and a tax-free stipend of £25,150 for four years. 

Please note that the nature of the sponsor means that only UK nationals are eligible (dual or foreign nationals cannot be appointed)



[2] Defence Science and Technology Laboratory - GOV.UK ( 

[2] Dynamic DNA nanotechnology: toward functional nanoscale devices - Nanoscale Horizons (RSC Publishing)