University of Birmingham

Design of polymers for cell surface engineering

Deadline: Open all year round

Project Description

A fully funded PhD studentship (UK tuition fees) is available in the group of Dr Arno at the University of Birmingham (group website: in areas of polymer chemistry with an emphasis on the development of a new range of polymers for applications in drug delivery and cell engineering. The project will focus on the design of new polymers that can be conjugated to the surface of mammalian cells using traditional and brand-new cell engineering approaches. The project will involve research in some of the key areas that the group are interested:

  • Development of polymers that can undergo post polymerisation modifications
  • Understanding the key factors for polymer binding at the cell surface
  • Investigating potential applications of the cell-based materials prepared through this route.

The project can be flexibly adapted towards the student’s interests and presents elements of fundamental research as well as a clear focus on an applied goal. Together with polymer synthesis, the project has a strong biological focus and will involve elements of mammalian cell culture for which appropriate training will be provided. The work will be mainly conducted in the School of Chemistry in the Haworth Building in Edgbaston with full access to the state-of-the-art facilities of the department.

Funding Information

This studentship is fully funded for 42 months and covers UK rate PhD salary and home tuition fees.

Eligibility Requirements

The successful applicant should possess a good (1st or 2.1 UK or equivalent) degree in chemistry.

Application Process

Informal enquires can be directed to Dr Arno ([email protected]) and should include a CV.

Anticipated Start Date: 1st October 2021

Supplementary Information

This project offers the opportunity to receive a unique multidisciplinary training in a variety of techniques, spanning the fields of polymer synthesis, polymer functionalisation, and biology. The student will receive in-depth training in a wide range of standard and advanced synthetic polymer chemistry techniques and mammalian cell culture. The student will also receive training in a diverse array of analytical techniques including NMR spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, UV/Vis and fluorescence spectroscopy, and confocal microscopy.

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