3.5-year PhD studentship available for September 2023 start

A fully-funded 3.5 year PhD studentship is available to start in September 2023 in the Oliver research group at the University of Bristol.

Natural photosynthetic proteins efficiently absorb solar light and convert this into sugars required for growth and cellular function. This exquisite light-driven natural process is the net result of multiple complex reactions initiated by electronic energy transfer and charge transfer.

Ultrafast laser spectroscopy has been an indispensable tool for elucidating the chain of high-energy events that occur after light is absorbed by chromophores in natural proteins.

The full intricate functionality of natural photosynthesis has, to-date, not been replicated in fully synthetic proteins. The PhD project is closely linked to a multidisciplinary project (https://circuitsoflife.uk/) which aims to address this deficiency by creating novel modular light harvesting proteins and redox-active enzymes, by combining the expertise of biochemists, computational and synthetic chemists with ultrafast spectroscopists.

Using state-of-the-art ultrafast laser spectroscopies you will investigate the energy and charge transfer pathways in novel and specially designed photoactive proteins from the consortium of collaborators (Bristol, UEA, UCL, Portsmouth). The techniques include: transient absorption and time-resolved spectroscopies capable of monitoring dynamics seamlessly from 100 femtosecond to 1 millisecond; 2D electronic and 2D electronic-vibrational spectroscopies.

The rate constants determined by ultrafast studies will be used to identify the mechanisms for energy and charge transfer within the assembled proteins, and pinpoint bottlenecks or potential deficiencies in the synthetic proteins. These will be used as a critical inputs to optimise the synthetic protein proficiency.

You will part of a team of postgraduate students and post-doctoral research fellows in the excellently equipped and well-funded Oliver research group at Bristol, part of the Bristol Laser Spectroscopy and Dynamics Group.

Applicants should hold a good honours degree (or equivalent) with subject knowledge in Chemistry, Chemical Physics or Physics.

You will receive a stipend to cover your living costs at the level set by UKRI: https://www.ukri.org/skills/funding-for-research-training/

Contact Dr. Tom Oliver (tom.oliver@bristol.ac.uk) for further details.

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