Development of ultrafast and highly sensitive diagnostics for airborne viral infections


COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of constant monitoring of viral infections.

However, current methods for detection of viral infections are either time consuming or have low sensitivity, making them sub-optimal for mass testing.

To address these challenges, in this PhD project, we aim to develop proteins that change fluorescent properties upon binding to viral particles.

Development of such fluorescent proteins would allow highly sensitive detection of specific viral particles within seconds, in air, on surfaces, and in liquid samples.

The successful applicant will be a talented biochemist or chemist with enthusiasm for chemistry, chemical biology, and molecular biology.

The candidate will work at the forefront of chemical and synthetic biology and will develop advanced skills in chemical synthesis, various molecular biology and analytical techniques, including molecular cloning, protein expression and purification, gel electrophoresis, western blotting, ELISA and HPLC.

The research work will be performed in the Chemical and Synthetic Biology laboratories housed in the School of Chemistry, University of East Anglia under the supervision of Dr. Amit Sachdeva.


1. T. Bridge, U. Wegmann, K. Orman, S. A. Shaikh, J. Crack, W. Farndon & A. Sachdeva* (2022). Site-specific encoding of photoactivity and photoreactivity into antibody fragments. Nature Chemical Biology, under review.

2. A. Sachdeva & T. Bridge (2020) Photoactive antibodies. Patent, Patent Cooperation Treaty, Publication Number: WO2020/193981.

3. Z. Cheng, E. Kuru, A. Sachdeva and M. Vendrell (2020) Fluorescent amino acids as versatile building blocks for chemical biology. Nature Reviews Chemistry, 4, 275.

4. T. Bridge, S.A. Shaikh, P. Thomas, J. Botta, P.J. McCormick & A. Sachdeva* (2019) Site‐Specific Encoding of Photoactivity in Antibodies Enables Light‐Mediated Antibody–Antigen Binding on Live Cells. Angewandte Chemie Int. Ed., 58, 17986.

5. D.T. Rogerson, A. Sachdeva, K. Wang, T. Haq, A. Kazlauskaite, S.M. Hancock, N. Huguenin-Dezot, M.M.K. Muqit, A.M. Fry, R. Bayliss and and J.W. Chin. (2015) Efficient genetic encoding of phosphoserine and its non hydrolyzable analog. Nature Chemical Biology, 11, 496.