PhD in Development of machine learning methods for automated design of new biological functions in bacterial proteins

Brunel University

Closing date: 26 June 2020

Brunel University London (BUL) is recruiting to EPSRC Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) PhD studentships effective 1 October 2020. Applications are invited for the following specific project called “Development of machine learning methods for automated design of new biological functions in bacterial proteins”.

Successful applicants will receive an annual stipend (bursary) of £17,285 plus payment of their full-time home tuition fees for a period of 36 months (3 years). Applicants must be eligible for home tuition feeseither through nationality, residency (living in the UK for at least three years and not wholly for educational purposes) or other connection to the UK. 

The successful applicants will join the internationally recognised researchers in the Department of Computer Science. Protein design has matured to an exciting area within synthetic biology. Currently there is no general method to perform rational design of protein function by modification of protein internal dynamics. This research project is aimed at combining machine learning techniques and biomolecular simulations to develop the first ‘AI-based protein engineer’. The doctoral researcher will develop machine learning software to run biomolecular simulations and automatically select, test and evaluate mutations for redesigning protein dynamics.

Applicants will be required to demonstrate their ability to:

  • plan basic data analyses using machine learning
  • analyse data from molecular simulations
  • manipulate files and directories in Linux
  • develop software in Python

Please contact Alessandro Pandini at for an informal discussion about the studentships.

This is a College of Engineering, Design and Physical Sciences: EPSRC Funded DTP PhD Studentship.


Applicants will have or be expected to receive a first or upper-second class honours degree in an Engineering, Computer Science, Design, Mathematics, Physics or a similar discipline. A Postgraduate Masters degree is not required but may be an advantage.   

Experience in structural bioinformatics, - molecular dynamics simulations of proteins, machine learning methods for prediction and high-performance computing is an advantage.  In addition, applicants should be highly motivated, able to work in a team and independently, collaborate with others and have good communication skills.

How to apply

Please submit your application documents (see list below) by Noon on Friday 26 June 2020 to Interviews will take place in July 2020.

  • Your up-to-date CV;
  • Your personal statement (300 to 500 words) summarising your background, skills and experience;
  • Your Undergraduate/Postgraduate Masters degree certificate(s) and transcript(s);
  • Evidence of your English language skills to IELTS 6.5 (or equivalent, 6.0 in all sections), if appropriate;
  • Contact details for TWO referees, one of which can be an academic member of staff in the College.

Remember to state the title of the project at the top of your personal statement.

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