PhD Studentship: Self-Assembled Protein Nanosheets for the Control of Stem Cell Phenotype

Queen Mary University of London - School of Engineering and Materials Science

A PhD studentship in the design of novel self-assembled protein nanosheets and their application for the culture of stem cells is available in the group of Dr J. Gautrot. The project will focus on the bottom up design of protein nanosheets through the self-assembly of proteins and polymers and displaying controlled chemistry, morphology and mechanical properties and allowing the regulation of stem cell adhesions.

Biomaterials design plays an essential role in the development of novel platforms and strategies supporting regenerative medicine and tissue engineering. Importantly, stem cells used in such technologies not only respond to the biochemical properties of biomaterials but also their physical properties (e.g. mechanics, topography, geometry). We recently reported that the nanoscale physical properties of biomaterials and the extra-cellular environment may dominate over bulk properties. The proposed project will further establish the methodology to design nanoscale biomaterials for the control of stem cell adhesion. In particular, this project will develop and characterise self-assembly processes enabling the control of nanoscale mechanical properties of biomaterials (protein nanosheets), in addition to their biochemistry.

The successful candidates will develop multidisciplinary skills in protein and polymer chemistry, self-assembly, structural characterisation (FTIR, electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy), mechanical (nano-indentation, rheology) and will be trained in the fundamentals of stem cell biology and associated characterisation techniques (confocal microscopy, FRAP, live imaging). This project will be integrated with other projects in our group focusing on the development of novel smart biomaterials and biointerfaces (, fields in which our research group has a strong track-record (see Biomaterials 2010, 2012, Nature Materials 2012, Nature Cell Biology 2010 and Integrative Biology 2013, Nano Letters 2014, Chem. Rev. 2014). Applicants must have (or be about to obtain) a good Honours degree (minimum 2(i) honours or equivalent) in Materials Sciences, Chemistry, Bioengineering or similar related degrees.

QMUL Research Studentship Details
Available to Home/EU & International Applicants
Full Time programme only
Applicant required to start in Sept 2018
The studentship arrangement will cover tuition fees and provide an annual stipend for up to four years (Currently set as £16,553 in 2017/18)
The minimum requirement for this studentship opportunity is a good Honours degree (minimum 2(i) honours or equivalent) or MSc/MRes in a relevant discipline
If English is not your first language then you will require a valid English certificate equivalent to IELTS 6.5+ overall with a minimum score of 6 in Writing 5.5 in all sections (Reading, Listening, Speaking)
International applicants should refer to the following website at:

Supervisor Contact Details:
Dr Julien Gautrot, E-mail:

Application Method:
To apply for this studentship and for entry on to the Medical Engineering programme please follow the link to the following webpage:

Further Guidance available via:

Please be sure to include a reference to ‘2017 SEMS ERC JG’ to associate your application with this studentship opportunity.


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