Available student project - RNA tangles and knots? A basic model.

Research fields

  • Biophysics
  • Topological and Structural Science
A simple tangled net. Can you find a knot? Why is it tangled?

Project details

Torus knots are well known to knot theoreticians: they are formed by winding a simple loop in various ways around the surface of a torus. The same approach can be applied to the next simplest two-dimensional manifolds: a "ditorus" (genus 2) and "tritorus" (genus 3) and so on. The project will explore the formation of these knots in terms of assemblies of double helices, similar to Watson and Crick's DNA model, but built from double helices formed by just one strand. The aim is to explore the simplest encodings along a string that will force string knotting of a certain type. This work is an idealised theoreticla apporach to modelling folding of biomolecules such as DNA and RNA. 

Required background

Some familiarity with elementary concepts of knot theory and two-dimensional geometry and topology would be good, though not essential. An interest in exploring this as a route to exploring protein, DNA or RNA folding and tangling, will make the project fun... I hope!

Project suitability

This research project can be tailored to suit students of the following type(s)
  • Honours project
  • Phd or Masters

Contact supervisor

Hyde, Stephen profile

Updated:  17 August 2017/ Responsible Officer:  Director, RSPE/ Page Contact:  Physics Webmaster