PhD Studentship: Smart Switchable Biological Surfaces for On-demand Biosensing

University of Birmingham

Just as biology is offering inspiration and components for nanotechnology, nanotechnology is providing new tools and technology platforms to measure, understand and control biological systems. While important progress on static biological surfaces has been previously made, much research is now focusing on the development of smart biological surfaces as they have potential use in diverse biological and medical applications ranging from cell biology research to clinical diagnosis. Recently, The Mendes lab has devised a new class of switchable biological surfaces – surface-confined electro-switchable peptides – which have the capacity to regulate biomolecular interactions in response to an applied electrical potential. In this project, we will translate these novel switchable, dynamic self-assembled monolayers to control the activity of antibodies on surfaces. The research proposed herein has significant implications for the future of biosensing since it will provide, for the first time, a platform for on-demand sensing of a broad range of target biomolecules.

A first degree (typically BSc or Masters) in Engineering, Chemistry, Material Sciences, Physics or Biology is required. Applications including CV and detailed education with grades should be addressed to Professor Paula Mendes (

Relevant Publications:

  1. Mendes, P.M. Stimuli-responsive surfaces for bio-applications. Chemical Society Reviews, 2008, 37, 2512-2529.
  2. Yeung, C.L., Iqbal, P., Allan, M., Lashkor, M., Preece, J.A. and Mendes, P.M. Tuning Specific Biomolecular Interactions using Electro-Switchable Oligopeptide Surfaces. Advanced Functional Materials, 2010, 20, 2657–2663.
  3. M. Lashkor, F. J. Rawson, A. Stepheson-Brown, J. A. Preece, P. M. Mendes, “Electrically-driven modulation of surface-grafted RGD peptides for manipulation of cell adhesion”, Chemical Communications, 2014, 50, 15589 – 15592.

Subject Areas:

Surface Chemistry, Self-Assembled Monolayers, Switchable Biological Surfaces, Bionanotechnology, Electrochemistry and Biosensing.

Funding: This award is only open to UK/EU students. Overseas students are not eligible for funding. 

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Midlands of England