PhD position in solid-state NMR at the university of Strasbourg

Design and investigation of antimicrobial materials and mechanisms of action for medical applications

Thesis supervisors and contact:

Dr Christopher Aisenbrey and Professeur Burkhard Bechinger, RMN et Biophysique de Membranes, Institut de chimie, Université de Strasbourg / CNRS UMR7177, 4 rue Blaise Pascal, 67070 Strasbourg. Please send applications including CV, certifcates/marks of the last 2 years and references to: aisenbrey@unistra.fr, bechinge@unistra.fr

Project:

The increasing spread of multiresistant pathogens inside and outside hospitals becomes a dangerous threat to human health. Immediate action is needed to overcome this problem and this project aims at preventing such infection in first place by protecting medical devices from bacterial invasion. Antimicrobial peptides are capable of self-assembling into various supramolecular nanostructures and these have a number of potentially significant applications such as serving as antimicrobial materials with slow release activity. Furthermore, their mechanism of antimicrobial action is dependent on how they interact with other lipids and peptides at the membrane surface. The project aims at determining which pre-requisites need to be fulfilled thus that the antimicrobial compounds keep their activity when associated with surfaces and to develop new supramolecular complexes that are even more active. The interactions and self-assembly of antimicrobial peptides in bacterial membranes to form nanopores and channels are part of the unique mode of action of action of AMPs and have a potential application in the creation of porous materials or as part of polymer membranes/filters/nanofibers to create materials with antimicrobial activity. Peptide synthesis, the application of NMR and optical spectroscopies, light scattering and the analysis of microscopic images are techniques used during the investigation. Aspects of the project are geared to chemists, physical-chemists, biophysicists or biochemists.

The project aims for a chemist, physical-chemist, biophysicist or biochemist and will be adapted to prior know-how. The candidate is expected to be interested, motivated and to get involved in the subject. The student should be happy to be exposed to an international and interdisciplinary environment and to work in a team spirit.