Job ID: 98028

PhD Position: Barrier functions of the sugary cell coat in the brain

Position: Ph.D. Student

Deadline: 8 January 2023

Employment Start Date: 2 October 2023

Contract Length: 36

City: Leeds

Country: United Kingdom

Institution: University of Leeds

Department: School of Biomedical Sciences


Are you keen to progress research in glycoscience at the interface between chemistry, neuroscience and physics?

Glycocalyces are carbohydrate-rich coats surrounding virtually every cell in our body, including neurons. They play important roles as barriers against pathogens, yet many toxic species (e.g., bacterial toxins, amyloids and viruses) exploit glycocalyces to recognise and enter their host cells. The biochemical and biophysical mechanisms defining selective binding and transport of pathogens within the glycocalyx are not well understood.

In this project, you will develop new methods to probe and understand binding and transport of toxic protein species within glycocalyces in molecular detail. You will develop glycocalyx models with tuneable glycan presentation and physical properties. You will also use state-of-the-art biophysical and cell biology techniques to evaluate the interaction of toxic proteins with glycocalyx-bearing model surfaces and neurons.

The results will provide new tools to progress our fundamental understanding of glycocalyx functions and, in the longer term, may help tackle neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s and infectious diseases.

This work is supported by a multi-disciplinary team of supervisors with expertise in all research areas relevant to this project and funded by the BBSRC White Rose PhD Programme. Excited by this project? Please contact the supervisors ( or for more information before submitting your application.