PhD project: Virus Self-assembly: Structure, Dynamics and Mechanical Properties

Project description

Viruses are composite nanoparticles (~10 -100 nm diameter) comprising a core of genetic material (DNA or RNA) that is surrounded by thin protein shell (or capsid). Viruses are efficient at transferring their genetic material into a host cell and then hijacking the cell's machinery in order to reproduce. To act as efficient genetic transfer agents, viruses have to exhibit mechanical properties that enable them to withstand the high osmotic pressures of packaged DNA and strong shear flows as they travel around the body.

Potential projects will use experimental techniques, including neutron and x-ray scattering, to examine different physical aspects of virus behaviour:
(A) Relating mechanical response of viruses to structural and dynamical properties of the capsid
(B) Interaction of viruses and inorganic nanoparticles with real and model cell membranes
(C) Controlling virus self-assembly

Project supervisor

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