Research Assistant

Job Description

We have an exciting opportunity in the University of Sheffield to make our recent development of solar-activated compounds for killing bacteria in water. We are looking for someone with a PhD or an equivalent experience in polymer synthesis and bacterial studies, experience in photochemistry will be beneficial. The project builds on our previous work that demonstrated efficient killing of Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria in water by copper(I) complexes immobilised on silica after short irradiation with visible light. This project aims to achieve the next step towards development and implementation of a practical solution for water treatment.
We aim to immobilise these compounds on solid support which can be used as filter material, and/or lining of a water-holding vessel; and make a prototype device in collaboration with our industrial partner, Severn Trent Water.
Your tasks will include: (i) making high surface area polymers (with Prof Frederik Claeyssens, Department of Materials Science and Engineering) [2], (ii) immobilise small-molecule antibacterials made in Prof Julia Weinstein’s group (Department of Chemistry) [1] on such polymer scaffold, and (iii) investigate the efficiency of new scaffolds on killing bacteria in water under light (with Dr Esther Karunakaran, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering[3]) using home-build light chamber [4].
You will join an international, interdisciplinary team, and will be part of collaboration between three academic departments. Your standing and approaches will further strengthen our strong international research profile.
This position provides an excellent opportunity to develop interdisciplinary skills and the ability to communicate with researchers from different disciplines and backgrounds. You will also work closely with out industrial partner. The project, at the interface of chemistry, molecular biology, and polymer science, will enhance one’s future employability.
The project is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, through the Knowledge Exchange award to the University of Sheffield.
Further information:
1. Appleby, et al., Materials Adv., 2020, 1, 3417.
2. Owen, et al., J Mech. Behavior Biomedical Materials (JMBBM) 2016, 54, 159.
3. Karunakaran, et al., Sci Total Environ 2024, 912, 168565.
4. Walker, et al., mSystems 2022, 7(4), 00455-22.
What We Offer:
● 38 days annual leave (including closure days and Bank Holidays), with the possibility to purchase up to ten additional days.
● Up to 5 days of paid time off to cover emergency caring responsibilities.
● A highly competitive pension scheme.
● Discounts at participating shops and cinemas, and a cycle to work scheme.
● A commitment to your development, with programmes, learning modules and mentoring schemes.
● An inclusive and diverse workplace.
● A commitment to your wellbeing, with confidential emotional support.
Further information can be found at
We are committed to exploring flexible working opportunities which benefit the individual and University.
We build teams of people from different heritages and lifestyles from across the world, whose talent and contributions complement each other to greatest effect. We believe diversity in all its forms delivers greater impact through research, teaching and student experience.
Apply now by clicking on the Apply button located near the top of your screen.