Design and construction of compartmentalised biomimetic microreactors for CO2 capture

About the project or challenge area

The exponential increase in the atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) due to a range of anthropogenic activities such as fossil fuel combustion, deforestation and industrial processes are increasingly associated with climate change, rise in sea levels and extreme weather events. CO2 fixation in plants is carried out by the enzyme D-ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (RuBisCO) present in cell organelles (carboxysomes). The RuBisCO converts CO2 to 3-phosphoglycerate (3-PGA) that further takes part in several complex redox processes to produce glucose. This research takes a cue from Nature and aims to develop a new bottom-up approach to spatially organize naturally evolved RuBisCO and co-localization of carbonic anhydrase (CA) inside artificial cell-like microstructures (protocells) as a step towards efficient artificial CO2­ fixation. The research program will develop synthetic methods to construct microcompartments capable of hosting the enzyme cascade reactions and establish a protocol for the fabrication of microreactors based devices for CO2 fixation and environmental remediation.

Why choose this opportunity?

The proposed project will employ simple, low-temperature soft chemical routes for the fabrication of the desired materials. As the project is interdisciplinary (materials and biology) the work will offer opportunities to characterise the resulting materials using a range of physicochemical characterisation techniques such as optical/fluorescence microscopy, electron microscopy, spectroscopy and enzyme catalysis. The research project will be developed in collaboration with Dr Patil and Prof Mann, as a result, the candidate will have an excellent opportunity to interact and work alongside the Mann research group. Finally, the successful realisation of the research project will provide opportunities to fabricate handleable devices.

About you

No specific skills are required in order to undertake this project. Full training and support on all aspects of work will be provided.

Bench fees

A bench fee of £4000 is required.

How to apply

All students can apply using the button below, following the Cabot Masters by Research Admission Statement. Please note that this is an advertised project, which means you only have to complete Section A of the Research Statement.

Before applying, we recommend getting in touch with the project's supervisors. If you are interested in this project and would like to learn more about the research you will be undertaking, please use the contact details on this page.


Your supervisor for this project will be Dr. Avinash Patil, Research Fellow, School of Chemistry. You can contact him at tel: +44 117 331 7215 or email

Find out more about your prospective research community

The Environmental Change theme is a vibrant community of researchers who integrate expertise across multiple disciplines to provide the evidence base and solutions to tackle the world's most pressing environmental challenges. Find out more about the Environmental Change research theme.

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