Join the Cooper Group

We are always looking for enthusiastic and motivated postdocs, PhD students and visiting researchers to join the group. Funded positions will be advertised here when they are available. For further information about positions and the research carried out in the group, please get in touch with James (

We have a 3-year fully funded PhD studentship available. Start date is 1 October 2021 or 1 January 2022.


Membrane-bound proteins play an integral role in biology. They control the transport of ions and molecules across the membrane, dictate chemical reactivity and catalysis, and enable signalling between cellular entities. Synthetic assemblies that can mimic this behaviour have potential applications in channel-replacement therapies, drug delivery applications, and may find use in synthetic biology as components in hierarchical molecular networks, for example in synthetic cells that function as chemical factories. This project will investigate unique supramolecular approaches to develop stimuli-responsive assemblies that can insert into membranes and act as ion transporters, or as prototypical transmembrane signalling systems.

Skills the researcher will learn:

  • Organic synthesis

  • Synthesis and analysis of supramolecular assemblies

  • Formation and study of vesicles and the study of transmembrane processes

  • A variety of analytical techniques (e.g. NMR, fluorescence and UV/vis spectroscopy)

The interdisciplinary nature of this project means that there is likely to be opportunities for collaboration, both inside and outside the Department of Chemistry.

Candidate requirements:

  • Good knowledge of organic chemistry and an interest in supramolecular chemistry

  • A first or upper-second class Master’s degree in Chemistry (and not be in possession of a PhD)

  • Funding is for UK students

Please get in touch with James for more information:

See the advert on FindAPhD:

PhD Studentship Available - Stimuli-responsive Transmembrane Assemblies

PhD Students

Applications from prospective PhD students are welcome at any time. Candidates should have a strong desire to conduct original research in the areas of supramolecular or systems chemistry, and can expect to gain experience in both synthetic supramolecular and systems chemistry, as well as in the manipulation and study of lipid bilayers.

Further information about graduate studies at the University of Reading can be found here.

The University of Reading offers the following scholarships for prospective PhD candidates:

Prospective international PhD students may want to consider the following sources of funding:

Postdoctoral Researchers

If no funded postdoctoral positions are advertised, then you must secure your own postdoctoral fellowship support if you are interested in joining the group. Please contact James ( with a CV and an outline of your research interests or the research that you would like to carry out during your fellowship. Support will be provided to candidates in order to craft highly competitive applications, if required. Please pay close attention to the eligibility requirements and  get in touch well in advance of the deadlines for the funding you wish to apply for.

Prospective postdoctoral fellows may want to consider the following sources of funding:

Undergraduate Students

Undergraduate students at the University of Reading who wish to carry out a final year project in the group should get in touch with James to discuss possible projects (usually during the autumn / spring term).

Summer studentships are also supported, although often funding will need to be applied for. If you would like to work in the group over the summer, please get in touch as soon as possible to discuss projects and possible avenues of funding.