PhD Studentship - Spherical Nucleic Acids for sensing and drug delivery

University of Southampton

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Position type:

Full time

02 Mar 2022
30 Jun 2022

Full details:

Reference number: SOU-1725122WF

Supervisory Team:    Prof. Antonios Kanaras

Project description

Nanomaterials are now employed in many fields of science and technology ranging from biomedicine and the development of new diagnostic methods, to physics and engineering, and the fabrication of novel devices for energy conversion and storage. The major reason for the vast range of applications of nanomaterials is the ability to easily adjust their magnetic, electrical, optical, catalytic and mechanical properties.

Spherical Nucleic Acids (SNAs), nanoparticles coated with a spherical shell of oligonucleotides, have emerged as a new platform of a multifunctional system that can perform targeted tasks in cells such as sensing of RNAs, gene regulation and drug delivery in cells.  The nanoparticle core that act as a template for anchoring oligonucleotides can be of various compositions including inorganic and/or organic species. Additionally the surface oligonucleotides can be chemically engineered to bring more properties on board such as resistance to enzymatic degradation within cells.

This project aims to thoroughly investigate the interactions of metal and lipid SNAs with different cells and realize how the physicochemical characteristics of the nanoparticles influence nanoparticle uptake and function within different types of cells. The successful candidate will gain expertise in the chemical synthesis and surface bio-modification of nanoparticles, and their physicochemical characterization, using a vast range of techniques including electron and confocal microscopy. Desired qualifications include previous experience in nanoparticle synthesis, biofunctionalization, DNA chemistry and cell handling. Candidates should have a degree in one of the following disciplines: Chemistry, Biology, Physics, or Material Science.

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Prof. Antonios Kanaras, QLM Research Group, Email:  Tel: +44 (0) 2380 59 2466

Entry Requirements

A very good undergraduate degree (at least a UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent).

Closing date: applications should be received no later than 31 June 2022 for standard admissions, but later applications may be considered depending on the funds remaining in place.

Funding: full tuition plus, for UK students, an enhanced stipend of £15,609 tax-free per annum for up to 3.5 years. Self-funded students are welcome to apply.

How To Apply

Applications should be made online selecting Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences “PhD Physics (Full time)” as the programme. Please enter QLM under the Topic or Field of Research.

Applications should include

Research Proposal (optional)

Curriculum Vitae

Names of two academic referees

Degree Transcripts to date

Apply online:

For further information please contact: 

The School of Physics is committed to promoting equality, diversity inclusivity as demonstrated by our Athena SWAN award. We welcome all applicants regardless of their gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation or age, and will give full consideration to applicants seeking flexible working patterns and those who have taken a career break. The University has a generous maternity policy, onsite childcare facilities, and offers a range of benefits to help ensure employees’ well-being and work-life balance. The University of Southampton is committed to sustainability and has been awarded the Platinum EcoAward.


We aim to be an equal opportunities employer and welcome applications from all sections of the community.

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