Quantum biology in photosynthesis

The aim of this project will be to examine predictions of the hypothesis of our collaborator, that the interplay between excitonic and vibrational motions is involved in maintaining long-lived coherence in photosynthesis complexes.

Start date
1 October 2020
Duration
3 years
Application deadline
Funding information

The studentship fully covers all academic fees with a stipend of £15,285 per annum for UK/EU students.

Funding for future years will be subjected to the UKRI increase.

About

The aim of this project will be to examine predictions of the hypothesis of our collaborator, Professor Alexandra Olaya-Castro (AOC), that the interplay between excitonic and vibrational motions is involved in maintaining long-lived coherence in photosynthesis complexes. A key, testable, prediction of the theory is that adding single mass units to atomic nuclei of key atoms in the pigments that are involved in vibrational coherence will shift the vibration frequencies to perturb coherence and thereby decrease the efficiency of energy transport. This project will build on an existing QB-DTC project to clone, express and purify bespoke photosynthetic complexes in E. coli, which will subsequently be investigated by a number of optical techniques including two-dimensional optical spectroscopy (2DOS). The aim of the current project to use metabolic approaches to add single mass units at particular atomic positions in pigment molecules that will thereafter be purified and examined by optical methods including Raman spectroscopy and 2D optical spectroscopy. The project will thereby test key predictions of the excitonic-vibrational coherence hypothesis.

Related links
Prof Johnjoe McFadden Dr Dany Beste Leverhulme Quantum Biology Doctoral Training Centre

Eligibility criteria

Applicants must have a BSc/Masters, biologist or experimental physical scientist/chemist.

UK and EU students only will be funded, overseas students will need to source their own funding.

English language requirements: IELTS overall score of 6.5 or above with a minimum of 6.0 in each component (or equivalent).

How to apply

To apply for this studentship:

  1. Firstly apply for the Biosciences and Medicine PhD.  
  2. During your application, please mention your desire to apply to this studentship in order to be considered.  
  3. When the system asks you to add your ‘Research Project’ please copy and paste the project description of the project you wish to apply for.

Biosciences and Medicine PhD


Application deadline

Contact details

Johnjoe McFadden
07 AX 01
Telephone: +44 (0)1483 686494
E-mail: J.Mcfadden@surrey.ac.uk

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