Researcher in DNA Nanotechnology Tools for Synthetic Cell Mimics
Imperial College London Department of Chemistry
United Kingdom

Researcher in DNA Nanotechnology Tools for Synthetic Cell Mimics


Dr Lorenzo Di Michele


UK/EU students only, available from 1 October 2019


Bottom-up synthetic biology aims at constructing artificial cells, micron-scale entities that replicate typical functionalities of biological cells, such as regulated metabolism, communication and adaptation to their environment. Artificial cells offer vast applicability as biosensing systems and nanomedical devices, while helping researchers to unravel the molecular mechanisms underlying biological complexity in a simplified setting. These microreactors are often constructed from a semi-permeable compartment playing the role of the cell membrane, supporting or encapsulating various active elements that enable sensing, communication and information processing.


DNA nanotechnology enables exquisite control over the structure and dynamic response of nanoscale objects constructed from synthetic DNA molecules, making it ideal for the production of nanomachines and structural elements that mimic biological ones, and can thus be applied in the context of artificial-cell research.


This PhD project aims a developing new DNA-nanotech tools that can enhance the capabilities of artificial cells. These include synthetic membrane receptors for sensing environmental cues, signalling and communication protocols to implement collective behaviours in artificial-cell consortia, and responsive structural elements that mimic the cytoskeleton and can alter the morphological and structural features of the artificial cells.


The student will design responsive DNA nanosystems (aided by computer tools), assemble and characterise them in the lab, and finally integrate them with synthetic cellular mimics. Depending on the student’s interests and skillset, experiments may be complemented by theoretical analysis and coarse-grained computer simulations.


The candidate should hold a master’s degree in physics, chemistry, materials or a closely related discipline, preferably with interest or experience on soft nanomaterials. Experience with computer programming would be highly beneficial.


Most important, the candidate should share our curiosity and enthusiasm for research! 


Note that Lorenzo’s group, currently based at the University of Cambridge, will move to Imperial College, Department of Chemistry in August 2019.





  • Location: Molecular Science Research Hub, White City Campus, Department of Chemistry of Imperial College London.
  • Start date: 01/10/2019
  • Duration: 3.5 years
  • Eligibility: UK/EU
  • Deadline for applications: 31 May 2019



Application process


To apply, please send via email to Lorenzo Di Michele ( the following material before 31 May 2019:


  • Covering letter (max 1 page)
  • CV (max 2 pages)
  • 2 letters of references


Shortlisted candidates will be contacted shortly after the deadline for an interview on skype or in person.



Further information


For further information, please contact Dr Lorenzo Di Michele:


If you apply for this position please say you saw it on Bioloxy


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