Magnetic field effects in spin coupled radical pairs: Can oscillating magnetic fields be used to influence the efficacy of drugs?

This project explores computationally how oscillating magnetic fields influence the biology of reactive oxygen species by acting on spin-coupled radical pairs.

Start date
1 January 2022
Standard project duration is 3 years
Application deadline
Funding source
University of Surrey, Leverhulme Trust
Funding information
  • Full UK tuition fee covered
  • Stipend of £15,609 p.a. for 24 months. The candidate will need to be able to provide funding for the remaining 12 month's tuition fees.
  • Personal computer (provided by the department)

This research project is one of a number of projects at this institution. It is in competition for funding with one or more of these projects. Usually the project which receives the best applicant will be awarded the funding.


Spin physics is central to the radical pair mechanism of the avian compass and is probably the fastest-growing field within quantum biology. However, progress with the avian compass model has been slow, dogged by the difficulties of working with birds as the standard in vivo model. The system described here appears to have quantum biology features that can be measured by one of the simplest measurements in biology: antibiotic resistance. Moreover, the live model system will be in E. coli, which is the simplest and most easily manipulated model organism and the one of which vastly more is known than any other organism. The project that will be conducted within the Quantum Biology Doctoral Training Centre will study the radical pair mechanism that has been proposed to be responsible for the action of the antibiotic isoniazid. Isoniazid (INH) is one of the key drugs for treatment of tuberculosis, which affects about 10 million in the world today and kills about 1.5 million of them annually. The target of isoniazid is the catalase-peroxidase, KatG. Complexes of KatG:INH complexes have been crystallized and structure determined (Kamachi et al., 2015) allowing the construction of detailed molecular models of the RPM of INH action. This project will use these resources to test various models of RPM action of isoniazid.

Related links
Leverhulme Quantum Biology Doctoral Training Centre UK Research and Innovation

Eligibility criteria

Applicants should have an undergraduate or masters degree in a relevant field such as a physical science or chemistry. 

Applicants are welcomed from UK and international students. 

English language requirements

IELTS minimum 6.5 overall with 6.0 in Writing, or equivalent

How to apply

Applications should be submitted via the Biosciences and Medicine PhD programme page on the "Apply" tab.

Please state clearly the studentship project at you would like to apply for.

Application deadline

Contact details

Peter Roth
34 AZ 03
Telephone: +44 (0)1483 686396

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