Skip to main content

Feedback-responsive protocells

PGR-P-118

Key facts

Type of research degree
PhD
Application deadline
Ongoing deadline
Country eligibility
International (open to all nationalities, including the UK)
Funding
Competition funded
Supervisors
Dr Paul Beales
Schools
School of Chemistry
<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

Feedback in chemical systems can give rise to clocks, bistable switches or oscillations; all of these features are employed by living cells in order to generate robust decisions and outputs while existing in a deafening background of thermodynamic noise. Bottom-up synthetic biology aims to assemble and repurpose biological components to generate novel functional materials with properties that do not exist in nature. One aim of this field is to build bespoke artificial cell-like materials (protocells) from their constituent parts. Robust operation of these systems will require use of feedback-control, just as exists in nature. This project will investigate confinement of feedback-responsive enzymatic reactions inside hollow membrane-bound compartments (vesicles) that mimic the architecture of a living cell. We will characterise the effect of this confinement on the encapsulated reactions and use this understanding to tune the response of the system as desired. The outputs of these reactions will be coupled to downstream material properties such as motility, communication and controlled release of drugs towards developing advanced biotechnologies with applications including drug delivery, environmental remediation and biosensors. The project will provide training in the preparation and characterisation of soft and biological materials, including application of a range of spectroscopy and imaging techniques. The earliest start date for this project is 1 October 2020.

<h2 class="heading">How to apply</h2>

<p>Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.leeds.ac.uk/info/130206/applying/91/applying_for_research_degrees">University&#39;s website</a>. Please state clearly in the research information section&nbsp;that the research degree you wish to be considered for is &lsquo;Feedback-responsive protocells&rsquo; as well as&nbsp;<a href="https://physicalsciences.leeds.ac.uk/staff/203/dr-paul-beales">Dr Paul Beales</a> as your proposed supervisor.</p> <p>If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University&#39;s minimum English language requirements (below).</p> <p><em>We welcome applications from all suitably-qualified candidates, but UK black and minority ethnic (BME) researchers are currently under-represented in our Postgraduate Research community, and we would therefore particularly encourage applications from UK BME candidates. All scholarships will be awarded on the basis of merit.</em></p>

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">Entry requirements</h2>

Applicants to research degree programmes should normally have at least a first class or an upper second class British Bachelors Honours degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate discipline. The criteria for entry for some research degrees may be higher, for example, several faculties, also require a Masters degree. Applicants are advised to check with the relevant School prior to making an application. Applicants who are uncertain about the requirements for a particular research degree are advised to contact the School or Graduate School prior to making an application.

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">English language requirements</h2>

The minimum English language entry requirement for research postgraduate research study is an IELTS of 6.0 overall with at least 5.5 in each component (reading, writing, listening and speaking) or equivalent. The test must be dated within two years of the start date of the course in order to be valid. Some schools and faculties have a higher requirement.

<h2 class="heading">Funding on offer</h2>

<p><strong>Self-Funding Students</strong></p> <p><strong>Funding Eligibility</strong></p> <p><strong>UK/EU</strong> &ndash;&nbsp;Leeds Doctoral Scholarship Award paying Academic Fees and Maintenance matching EPSRC rate of &pound;15,009 per year for 3 years, Lowson Research Scholarship&nbsp;paying Academic Fees and Maintenance at a fixed rate of &pound;14,000 per year for 3 years.&nbsp; Alumni Bursary is available to previous University of Leeds graduates offering 10% discount on Academic Fees.</p> <p><strong>International Students</strong> &ndash;&nbsp;China Scholarship Council-University of Leeds Scholarship Award paying Academic Fees for 3 years and Commonwealth Scholarship.&nbsp; Alumni Bursary is available to previous University of Leeds graduates offering 10% discount on Academic Fees.</p>

<h2 class="heading">Contact details</h2>

<p>For further information regarding your application, please contact Doctoral College Admissions by&nbsp;email: <a href="mailto:maps.pgr.admissions@leeds.ac.uk">maps.pgr.admissions</a><a href="mailto:EMAIL@leeds.ac.uk">@leeds.ac.uk</a>, or by telephone: +44 (0)113 343 5057.</p> <p>For further information regarding the project, please contact Dr Paul Beales by email:&nbsp;&nbsp;<a href="mailto:P.A.Beales@leeds.ac.uk">P.A.Beales@leeds.ac.uk</a></p>


<h3 class="heading heading--sm">Linked funding opportunities</h3>