PhD in DNA nanotechnology and bottom-up synthetic biology

University of Cambridge
March 05, 2023
Offerd Salary:Negotiation
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Working Time:Negotigation
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PhD in DNA nanotechnology and bottom-up synthetic biology

The group of Dr Lorenzo Di Michele at the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology of the University of Cambridge is looking to recruit a PhD student to carry out experimental work at the interface of nucleic acid nanotechnology and bottom-up synthetic biology.

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.

Nucleic acid nanotechnology enables exquisite control over the structure and dynamic response of nanoscale objects constructed from synthetic DNA/RNA molecules, making it ideal to produce nanomachines and structural elements that mimic biology, and can thus be applied in the context of artificial-cell research.

This PhD project aims a developing new DNA/RNA-nanotech tools for bottom-up synthetic biology, including (but not limited to) stimuli-responsive cell- like architectures and sensing/communication platforms. The student will design responsive nucleic acid 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 high 2.i (or equivalent from an overseas institution: https: // www. qualifications) in a master's degree, and all previous degrees, in physics, physical chemistry, or a closely related discipline, preferably with interest or experience on soft matter or biophysics. The candidate would also need to be able to meet the Department's minimum entry requirements; please see the link in the application section below. Experience with computer programming would be highly beneficial. This studentship is only available to those who Home fee status or those who hold settled status.

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

For further information regarding the project, please contact Dr Lorenzo Di Michele ([email protected])

To apply for this studentship, please see our entry in the Postgraduate Prospectus in the first instance to ensure that you would be able to meet our minimum entry criteria: https: // www. If so, please proceed to the on-line application on the 'How to Apply' tab at the above link. When applying, you must enter Dr Lorenzo di Michele as your prospective supervisor and NQ35432 in the project proposal so that we are able to direct your application accordingly. Completed applications must be received by 5 March 2023, as we are unable to accept late or incomplete applications. Shortlisted candidates will be contacted shortly after the deadline for a Zoom interview

Please quote reference NQ35432 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.


Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology






13 February 2023

Closing date

5 March 2023

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