Available positions


WP3. Synthesis and functionalization of biodegradable polymers supporting lipid membranes.

Recruiting institution: Polytechnic University of Catalonia

Location: Barcelona, Spain

Supervisors: Joan Torras, Elaine Armelin

Project description:

The project envisages the obtaining of bio-inspired sensors as novel “green” electronic devices for biomedical implantation. In this research line, poly(lactic acid) (PLA), which is the most commonly used biodegradable polymers in clinical applications, will be used in combination with lipid bilayer membranes to potentiate the selective transport of ions. Synthesis of functionalized nanoperforated nanomembranes and microspheres of PLA are planned. The candidate will prepare different tethering polymers attached to the PLA surface to improve PLA-lipid bilayer covalent connection for a final integration with the bio-inspired sensor. The composition and the structure of the biodegradable polymers will be studied in order to get an optimal obsolescence of the sensor skeleton. The candidate will be trained in structural characterization of polymers and biopolymers by means of thermal and chemical analyses (DSC, IR, Raman, and RMN) and in imaging techniques (SEM, TEM, AFM, and fluorescence microscopies).


  1. Design and synthesize new biodegradable polymers with a functionalized surface supporting polymer-tethered and protein-tethered lipid bilayers.

  2. Identify the relationship between polymer structure and lipid membrane composition to get more system stability.


  1. University of Warsaw (Poland). Stable planar lipid bilayer building.

  2. University of Groningen (Netherlands). Preparation of vesicles with PLA skeleton.

  3. 4Dcell SAS (France). Biodegradability study in novo testing platform.

PhD awarding entity: Polytechnic University of Catalonia

Qualifications: Master and Bachelor degrees in the following fields or similar: Biomedical Engineering, Biochemistry, Chemistry Sciences.

Skills: Scientific and technical skills to work in a laboratory of synthesis and materials characterization, dissemination and transferable skills necessary for the divulgation of the research results (good communication skills, oral and written), team work ability to integrate in a multidisciplinary and international work team, capacity to follow courses and workshops on scientific and complementary soft skills, readiness for international mobility and synergies with other research groups.


  1. Experience working with polymers and biopolymers in a laboratory, particularly in organic synthesis.

  2. It will be desirable experience in characterization of polymers and biopolymers, such as spectroscopy (FTIR, Raman) and microscopy (optical microscopy, SEM and AFM analysis).

  3. Proficiency in English (accredited: TOEFL, Cambridge University, or similar)

Expected start day: November-December, 2021