PhD Studentship: The Computational Design of Drug Sensors and Adsorbents for Environmental Applications

University of Bath - Department of Chemical Engineering

Supervisor: Carmelo Herdes

Molecularly Imprinted Polymers (MIPs) are synthetic receptors that are prepared via imprinting technology and can be tailored towards a specific analyte. The advantages of these "plastic” antibodies over their natural counterparts include low-cost, straightforward preparation and superior thermal and chemical stability. This method is versatile and can be used for detection and extraction of biomolecules ranging from ions to larger macrostructures such as bacteria.

In the imprinting process, a complex between the template and suitable functional monomers is created and subsequently polymerized with cross-linker monomers to form a dense network. The key to obtaining high-affinity binding sites is the understanding of the nature of the “pre-polymerization” complex. Computational modelling can elucidate the role of solvent and monomer-template interactions that will feed into the design of the MIP composition.

In this project, we will study MIP developments for the detection and removal of various drugs. Recent reports on environmental analysis suggested substantial contamination of water with medications, from painkillers to antidepressants, which have a negative impact on aquatic life. Therefore, it is of significant interest to develop sensors and adsorbents for monitoring and capturing harmful drugs concentrations on-site.

Prospective candidates are encouraged to contact Dr Carmelo Herdes ( directly for further details.

A Home/EU award will provide full tuition fees, an annual Training Support Fee of £1,000, and a tax-free maintenance payment of £14,553 (2017-8 rate) for up to 3.5 years.

An Overseas award (3 years): Provides tuition fee, an annual Training Support Fee of £1,000, but no stipend.

The successful applicant will ideally have graduated (or be due to graduate) with an undergraduate Masters first class degree and/or MSc distinction (or overseas equivalent).

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South West England