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School of Physical and Chemical Sciences

Light-Driven Nanomachines for Transformative Health and Disease Research

Research Group: Chemistry
Number of Students: 1
Length of Study in Years: 3 Years
Full-time Project: yes


  • Available to home applicants and international students.
  • Applicant required to start in September 2024.
  • The studentship arrangement will cover home tuition fees and provide an annual stipend for up to three years (Currently set for 2023/24 as £20,622).
  • International students note that this studentship only covers home tuition fees and students will need to cover the difference in fees between the home and overseas basic rate from external sources. 

Project Description

Cells in our bodies exist in a delicate equilibrium with their surroundings. These interactions are tightly regulated, and (mis)regulated interactions often result in serious pathological conditions such as progressive fibrosis. Yet the lack of precision tools for probing these interactions limit our understanding of disease mechanisms.  This project aims to address the need for precision tools in cellular mechanics, focusing on developing an innovative nanotechnology-based platform. The PhD student will explore novel methods to interact with cells at a molecular level utilizing state-of-the-art nanofabrication and imaging techniques.

Training & Development: The studentship offers multidisciplinary training in cellular biology, nanotechnology, and mechanical engineering. The candidate will develop skills in advanced experimental techniques and data analysis. Experimentally, the project will involve the use of i) chemical approaches, ii) nanofabrication strategies for device implementation, and iii) microscopy for nanoscale characterizations. As such, the PhD project will provide opportunities for training in a wide range of cell biology and material chemistry techniques and will equip the successful applicants with a highly desirable portfolio of scientific skills and associated transferable skills.

Impact and Future Prospects:

This research holds the potential to redefine therapeutic strategies, advancing fields like tissue engineering, drug delivery, and therapeutic interventions, particularly where force dynamics play a crucial role. As part of the team, you will contribute to a transformative impact on societal health outcomes and open new doors for artificial molecular machines in various sectors.


The project is supported by a network of partnerships with leading experts across QMUL and internationally. Collaborators include specialists in nanomedicine, photochemistry, materials chemistry, and esteemed figures in the biomaterials field.

This PhD studentship is available in the Department of Chemistry of the School of Physical and Chemical Sciences in the group of Dr Marc Fernandez-Yague : The supervisory team combines  precision tools to study cellular mechanics (chemical biology, Dr Fernandez-Yague: Research Profile) and expertise in chemistry for solving medical problems (chemical medicine, Prof Mark Bradley:  Research Profile



  • The minimum requirement for this studentship opportunity is a good Honours degree (minimum 2(i) honours or equivalent) or MSc/MRes in a relevant discipline.
  • If English is not your first language you will require a valid English certificate equivalent to IELTS 6.5+ overall with a minimum score of 6.0 in Writing and 5.5 in all sections (Reading, Listening, Speaking).

Applications are invited before the end of January 2024 from outstanding candidates holding or expecting to gain a Master’s degree in Chemistry, Biophysics, Materials Science, or Engineering with an interest in experimental and (bio)materials research.  An enquiring and rigorous approach to research, as well as good team-working and communication skills (both presentation and written English) is essential. A passion for developing new technologies and methodologies in biomedical research and previous experience in nanotechnology, material science, or cellular biology is advantageous. 

Application Method:

To apply for this studentship and for entry on to the Chemistry programme (Full Time) please follow the instructions detailed on the following webpage:

Deadline for application - 31st of January 2024

Supervisor Contact Details:

For informal enquiries about this position, please contact Dr Marc Fernandez-Yague 


SPCS Academics: Dr Marc Fernandez-Yague 


SPCS Academics: Dr Marc Fernandez-Yague