Closing Date: Monday, 13th December 2021
Applications are invited for a fully funded PhD studentship (3 years) within the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Nottingham, in collaboration with Johnson Matthey. The student will work with an interdisciplinary supervisory team with expertise in 3D printing, materials chemistry and biocatalysis.
Project title: 3D Printing of proteins for continuous flow biocatalysis and bio-adsorption
Supervisory Team: Ricky Wildman, Anca Pordea, Derek Irvine, Yinfeng He
We seek to use 3D printing for tailored support materials with applications in biocatalytic continuous flow reactors and in the selective adsorption of biomolecules. The high geometrical freedom and precise control of 3D printing allows the creation of complex structures with high surface area. This is key to the effectiveness of solid supports, either in immobilised enzyme reactors or in biosorption materials, where the mass transfer of the substrate to the active site (catalytic or adsorption site) depends on flow properties and on the geometry of the support. The ability to quickly generate new designs will allow us to iterate quickly to find the optimal structure for high yield and efficiency, whilst the high fidelity of the 3D printing process will allow scale up with high fidelity.
In this project, the optimum design of the support polymer geometry will be developed for maximum efficiency in catalysis / adsorption. The encapsulation of enzymes within 3D printed hydrogels will be optimised with a range of oligomers/polymers, polymerisation initiators and additives. The requirements for these printable materials will be a high protein loading capacity, good chemical compatibilities between components and favourable diffusion properties. A suitable 3D printing process will be optimised in order to allow printing of mechanically stable structures with the smallest features in a few microns range. A set of proteins and enzymes will be tested to ensure applicability of the approach to a range of biocatalytic transformations and adsorption-based separations.
The ideal candidate will have knowledge in chemistry, materials science, materials engineering or related subjects and be interested in experimental catalysis, polymer chemistry and 3D printing. The studentship is an exciting research collaboration between supervisors based within the Centre for Additive Manufacturing (https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/cfam) and the Sustainable Process Technologies Research Group (https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/research/groups/sustainable-process-technologies-research-group/index.aspx). The student will have access to equipment and expertise at the forefront of the 3D printing and of biotechnology research areas.
• Due to funding restrictions, the position is only available for home/UK candidates
• Candidates must possess or expect to obtain, a 2:1 or first class degree in an Engineering or Physical Sciences related discipline.
How to apply
Please send a copy of your covering letter, CV and academic transcripts to firstname.lastname@example.org referring to the project title.
Closing date: applications will be evaluated on a rolling basis until a suitable candidate is appointed.
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