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Chemistry CDT Project: Rational design of semi-synthetic de novo protein nanopores

Subject areas:


Funding type:

Stipend. Bench Fees / Research Training & Support Grant. Study costs.

Awarding body:

King's College London.

This project is being advertised as part of recruitment for the Centre for Doctoral Training in Chemistry for a Sustainable and Healthy Society at King’s College London.

Award details

Project description: Nanopore sensing exploits the restriction in the flow of ions through an engineered pore to detect analytes with single-molecule sensitivity. Nanopores have rapidly become a mainstay of portable genome sequencing, with e.g., commercial nanopore sequencing of viral RNA used to determine the genome of SARS-CoV-2. Despite this commercial success, current applications rely on natural protein pores and toxins; where design improvements are essentially restricted to mutagenesis or chemical modification of a structure whose original function was not nanopore sensing. The successful de novo design of new synthetic pores would circumvent these restrictions, unlocking a new generation of purpose-built nanopores. Here you will join a growing team designing new nanopores made from interchangeable building blocks - linking synthetic peptides and recombinant proteins to deliver a new generation of bespoke nanopore sensors.

This work will link the artificial bilayer and single-channel recording expertise of the Wallace lab, with the semi-synthetic expertise of the Müller lab. You will be trained in deep-learning based computational protein design, peptide synthesis, recombinant protein expression, single channel nanopore recording, and the microfluidic fabrication of lipid bilayers.

[1] A. J. Scott et al Nature Chemistry 2021, 13, 643.

[2] J. Wyatt et al Chem. Sci. 2023, 14, 3881.

[3] S. Leptihn et al Nature Protocols 2013, 8, 1048.

For informal project enquiries email:

Webpage: and

Award value

Stipend: Tax-free stipend set at the standard UKRI rate, currently £20,622 with the London Weighting Allowance.

Bench Fees: Approximately £4,500 for wet lab research.

Tuition fees: Covered by the studentship.

Eligibility criteria

Both UK and International Students are welcome to apply

  • Prospective candidates should have a minimum of 2:1 degree in Chemistry, Biochemistry, or a related subject.
  • Candidates should be able to demonstrate an aptitude for multidisciplinary research, the ability to work collaboratively in a diverse research environment as will a track-record of problem-solving and independence.

Application process

1.Send your CV and a personal statement to

Your personal statement must detail:

  1. Your previous research experience (final year projects, summer placements, year in industry etc).
  2. Your preferred projects/supervisors.
  3. Why you want to do a PhD and why you chose the Chemistry Research programme

2. Complete an online application on the King’s Apply system at

    1. Register a new account/login
    2. Once logged in, select Create a new application Enter ‘Chemistry Research MPhil/PhD (Full-time/Part-time)' under “Choose a programme”. 
    3. Please ensure you select the correct mode of study.
    4. You must name 2 referees and they must submit references within 7 days of the deadline or they will not be considered.

NOTE: If you have already submitted an application on King’s Apply for the Chemistry Research MPhil/PhD (Full-time/Part-time) for any research projects starting 2024/2025, do not submit another application. Please include your King’s Apply Portal Number when you send your CV and personal statement to

3. CV submission and online application MUST both be completed by the deadline. In the funding section, you can select “Option 5” and quote “ChemCDT2024” in the text box. All relevant information regarding eligibility, including academic and English language requirements, is available from the King’s Chemistry Website

Contact Details:

If you require support with the application process, please contact the Chemistry Postgraduate Research Officer

Funding Provider web address: 

Postgraduate research courses | Department of Chemistry | King’s College London (


Selection process

The selection process will involve a pre-selection on documents, if selected this will be followed by an invitation to an interview. If successful at the interview, an offer will be provided in due time.

Academic year:


Grant code:


Study mode:

Postgraduate research

Application closing date:

Contact us for details on when to apply