Molecular and Nanoscale Physics


PhD studentship opportunity (closing date 5th January 2017)

Tuning protein mechanics to create robust biological scaffolds

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. The ability to tune protein mechanical properties provides new opportunities to understand the role of force in biological systems and to create bespoke scaffolds for biomaterial applications. Using recently developed methods, we will create cross-linked networks of folded proteins, which exhibit specific mechanical and structural properties.

The aim of the project is to use single molecule force spectroscopy, rheology and structural techniques developed in the Dougan lab, polyprotein engineering in the Brockwell lab, together with computational modelling of the process (developed by the Head group) to understand how ligand binding can modulate the mechanical properties of single proteins and the networks they form. By obtaining fundamental insight into the protein scaffold we will explore the potential of exploiting protein conformational changes within protein networks in applications.


For more information on the research group:


Funding Notes

BBSRC White Rose Mechanistic Biology DTP 4 year studentship.

Studentships covers UK/EU fees and stipend (c.£14,296) for 4 years to start in Oct 2017. Applicants should have/be expecting at least a 2.1 Hons. degree in a relevant subject. EU candidates require 3 years of UK residency in order to receive full studentship.

Not all projects advertised will be funded; the DTP will appoint a limited number of candidates via a competitive process and the projects selected by the successful candidates will be funded.

There are 2 stages to the application process. Please see our website for more information:



To Apply: