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BBSRC Studentship: Modelling mechanosensitivity of the 2nd kind - how cells feel and respond to stiffness of their environment

last modified Oct 27, 2017 11:07 AM

PhD studentship (fixed-term) in Theoretical Biophysics

Modelling mechanosensitivity of the 2nd kind - how cells feel and respond to stiffness of their environment

A BBSRC DTP Programme Targeted PhD studentship is available in the Department of Physics to investigate the mechanosensitivity of cells. Sensing the stiffness (elastic modulus or viscosity) of the environment requires specific physical mechanisms. In developing a theoretical model of this process, three aspects are needed: (a) understanding the individual sensor mechanism, (b) mapping the signalling feedback loop that leads to the cell phenotypical response, and (c) identifying mechanisms of sensor coupling, leading to clustering and emergence of collective focal adhesions.

This project is suitable for a candidate with a good first degree (Masters pass) in Physics, Physical Chemistry or Materials Science. The successful candidate would have interests, and preferably some experience, in theoretical work in mechanics and statistical physics, as well as being able to read and process biological literature.

The student must complete the Programme in 48 months. They will have the opportunity to be part of an interdisciplinary cohort of students participating in DTP training courses and events. In addition to the primary PhD research, the student will complete two 10-week rotation projects and a three-month internship.

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 4 years

The award covers all University fees and provides a tax-free stipend of £14,553 per annum (2017/18 academic year). The studentship is available for UK and EEA students who meet the UK residency requirements. Students from EEA countries who do not meet the residency requirements may still be eligible for a fees-only award. The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.

The University and the Physics Department are committed to equality and diversity.

This studentship is available to start on 1 October 2018.


Informal enquiries should be made in the first instance to Professor Eugene Terentjev (

To make an application, follow the procedure outlined on the Physics Department website, making sure to mention the BSS research group and/or the name of Prof. Terentjev in the form.