Novel building blocks for soft materials based on carbohydrate assemblies

KHIMYAK_U20DTP

Carbohydrates are widespread in nature and generate soft biomatter that fulfil many important biological functions; they are also exploited as bulk commodities across industry sectors due to their remarkable range of properties. Introducing highly sensitive molecular probes into cellulose building blocks represents a powerful strategy for monitoring self assembly to guide the design of renewable materials.

This project will enable a PhD student to develop a comprehensive multiscale tool-kit for elucidating structure and interface properties of novel carbohydrate building blocks containing fluorine probes which will combine advanced experimental and computational approaches. Tailored introduction of fluorine labels in the carbohydrate chains expands the reach of the available structural and dynamics methodologies to probe fine details of assembly of such complex materials at different lengths scales, from the motifs of assembly in the bulk to water/carbohydrate interactions at the interfaces. By combining the experimental data and molecular modelling a novel multi-scale tool-kit for complex carbohydrates will be developed. This will be tested on probing the mechanism of assembly of fluorinated carbohydrate blocks into complex hydrogel structures.

Through this project, you will receive a multi-disciplinary training in using advanced advanced NMR spectroscopy and molecular modelling methods which will contribute to the develment of novel carbohydrate builing blocks for assembly of new biomaterials from renewable feedstocks with potential application in delivery systems, personal care products and foods.  You will join an exciting team with a world leading epxertise in Soft Matter and Carbohydrate Materials and will gain unique set of scientific and research management skills relelavant across many areas of modern Biosiences.

The position is available for graduates in the fields of chemistry, biological sciences, materials science, physics or pharmacy with attained or expected degree classification of 2.1 or above (of its equivalent). For further information contact Prof Yaroslav Khimyak (y.khimyak@uea.ac.uk).