A remarkable class of biopolymers known as ice-binding proteins alleviate the risk of freeze injury throughout the Kingdoms of Life by keeping the nucleation and growth of ice crystals in check. Yet, the application potential of analogues of ice-binding proteins as cryoprotectants has remained underexploited. This is because we are yet to unravel and utilize the structure-function relations, which govern their activity as inhibitors of ice recrystallization and promoters of ice nucleation at the single-molecule level in vitro and within a complex biological environment. In this project you will design and synthesize and study new ice-binding protein-polymers, with the aim to modulate independently their ability to inhibit recrystallization, control nucleation, and shape ice crystals at submicromolar concentrations. You will develop efficient synthesis and purification strategies suitable for upscaling to fabricate these powerful materials at large scale and relatively low cost. You will obtain the ice-binding protein-polymers as recombinant proteins encoded by synthetic genes that are designed and constructed by yourself. You will establish structure-activity relations to customize activity and – in collaboration with other group members – investigate their ice-binding at the single molecule level as well as their application potential in biomedicine.
For further information on this vacancy please contact
Prof. Dr. Ir. Ilja Voets, i.voets[at]tue.nl or +31 40 247 5303
For information about terms of employment, please contact Leo van Houten, l.v.houten[at]tue.nl or +31 40 247 8269
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