Conductive protein nanowires for bioelectronics and biosensors

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The recent discovery of electrically-conductive nanowires from bacteria has potential applications in the development of bioelectronics and biosensors. However, naturally-occurring bacterial nanowires are difficult to manufacture and customise for specific applications. As an alternative, this project will create customisable protein nanowires by alignment of metalloproteins on filamentous scaffolds. A combination of protein engineering, material science, and nanoelectronics will be used to fabricate and characterise these nanowires. Subsequently, the protein nanowires will be used to directly interface with enzymes for biosensor applications.

The interdisciplinary aspect of the project means that an ideal candidate will possess a broad range of skills in molecular biology and condensed matter physics. The fabrication of protein nanowires requires the candidate to have training in DNA cloning, protein engineering, and recombinant protein production. The candidate will subsequently use their knowledge of nanoelectronics to characterise and measure the conductance of the protein nanowires. Drawing upon their experience in solid state physics and semiconductor devices, the candidate will also apply electrostatic gating to the nanowires towards making new, potentially useful nanodevices.

A candidate possessing either an undergraduate physics, electrical engineering, or molecular biology background, however, is also sufficient for the project as the high-quality supervision team will provide extensive training and mentorship. Dr Glover and A/Prof Marquis are experts in protein biology and A/Prof Micolich is an expert in nanoelectronics.

Supervisory team
Dominic
Glover

Science
Biotechnology & Biomolecular Sciences
Chris
Marquis

Science
Biotechnology & Biomolecular Sciences
Adam
Micolich

Science
Physics
d.glover@unsw.edu.au