PhD: Super-Selective Colloids & Self-Organising Protein Networks

Delft University of Technology
September 05 2017
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

The prospect of building complex supramolecular assemblies from building blocks with appropriately designed interactions has spurred scientific efforts both to create smart materials with unprecedented properties and to build a self-organising synthetic cell. Despite significant progress in the fabrication (colloids) or purification (proteins) of the building blocks and the realisation of programmable interactions using DNA linkers, the desired control over their self-assembly/self-organisation remains limited. One key challenge is to achieve controllable interaction specificity and strength, while maintaining structural reconfigurability and bond reversibility. Biological systems achieve this through multivalent interactions: instead of relying on a single, strongly binding unit, they exploit multiple weakly binding ligands on one entity with multiple receptors on another. In this project you will systematically investigate the physics of multivalent interactions on a supra-molecular length scale using DNA linkers.
As a next step you will put your insights to use and develop (1) super-selective colloidal particles that are able to discriminate between high and low surface coverage of receptors and are of high potential for selective targeting, e.g. for drug delivery and nano-medicine, and (2) DNA linker sets to create highly controllable binding sites on proteins for functional self-organising networks.
This a collaborative project between the Labs of Dr. Liedewij Laan (protein networks, TU Delft) and Dr. Daniela Kraft (Colloids, Leiden University).

This job comes from a partnership with Science Magazine and Euraxess