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PhD Studentship: Imaging Techniques for Protein Aggregation


Applications are invited for a 4-year PhD studentship to start in October 2018 in the groups of Dr Steven Lee and Prof Tuomas Knowles. This new, exciting project involves applying novel multi-dimensional super-resolution imaging technologies to nano-fluidic devices to study fundamental properties of protein aggregation.

Super-resolution microscopy allows biological systems to be studied at the nanoscale, but has been restricted to providing only positional information. We have recently developed a multi-dimensional super-resolution (md-SR) imaging technique to determine both the localization position and the environmental properties of single-molecule fluorescent emitters. The method exploits the solvatochromic and fluorogenic properties of fluorophores to extract both the emission spectrum and the position of each dye molecule simultaneously enabling the mapping of the hydrophobicity with nanoscale resolution of biological structures. We have previously applied it both to measure the hydrophobicity of amyloid fibrils and oligomers implicated in neurodegenerative diseases, and to visualise the hydrophobic changes in a living mammalian cell. This project will involve integrating this new instrumental technique with soft lithographic techniques to be able to measure fundamental properties of nano-fludic flow as well as protein self-assembly.

Applicants must have (or expect to obtain) the equivalent of a UK first class or upper second-class honours degree (and preferably a Masters) in chemistry or other relevant discipline, with an interest in biophysics, physical chemistry, optics, lithography, or photonics. Experience with single-molecule fluorescence techniques, hardware automation and programming would be highly advantageous. Candidates should have a keen interest in applying physical methods to complex biological systems (although no prior knowledge of biology is required) and enjoy working in a highly multi-disciplinary collaborative environment.

The studentship will provide a maintenance grant and tuition fees at the UK/EU rate. Non-EU nationals can be considered only if they can cover the differential for overseas tuition fees.

Applications should include a cover letter, a CV, detailed academic transcripts and the contact details for at least two academic referees, and should be emailed to Dr Steven Lee (email: sl591@cam.ac.uk). Applicants should contact Dr Lee in the first instance before submitting their application.

Please quote reference MA13937 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.