Looking for Grad Students interested in Physics-Based Design of Therapeutics!

There are 1-3 openings for fall or winter 2020/2021 in Professor Ré Mansbach’s lab. Professor Mansbach is starting the lab in the Physics Department at Concordia University (http://www.concordia.ca/artsci/physics.html) in Montreal, Quebec, CA. There will be an associated tuition waiver and stipend for highly qualified/talented students.

Desired qualifications:  Looking for highly motivated graduate student candidates interested in theoretical and computational biophysics and deep learning.  Physics or Biophysics BA or BS is preferred but CS, biomedical engineering or related fields are welcome to apply. Experience with coding will be valuable, particularly in Python, and prior experience with molecular dynamics simulations will also be useful. 

Overview of Scientific Goals: Proteins are the building blocks of living things, miniature motors that make all of your cells function. Proteins embedded in cell membranes filter out toxic materials or uptake necessary nutrients. Meanwhile, malfunctioning proteins are responsible for a slew of disorders, including Alzheimer’s, type II diabetes, and Parkinson’s. Professor Mansbach want to understand and design small molecules and peptides for therapeutic applications such as finding new analgesics for treatment of chronic pain disorders, or correcting dysregulation of proteins that lead to Alzheimer’s. 

Potential Projects:

  • Drug Design for Antibiotics. Exploring the use of a fragment-based approach for novel antibiotic hybrid design through generative deep learning, in which a library of fragments relevant to antibiotic applications will be used as a basis for a generative model with a particular emphasis on interpretability as well as candidate generation. 
  • Antimicrobial Peptide (AMP) Design. Designing a deep learning model informed by multiscale molecular dynamics, wherein generative learning is used to iteratively create potential AMP candidates that are assessed on multiple scales using molecular dynamics.
  • Theory of disulfide bonds for toxin-based therapeutics. Using polymer theory or molecular dynamics, exploring ways to bring together constrained polymer theories with bond-breaking force field models to map out the free energy landscapes of disulfide-rich toxins for treatment of pain.

Professor Mansbach is also happy to work with students on their own ideas—as long as they fall within the broad scope of my work—and/or to tailor projects to suit specific strengths and interests.

This lab would like to cultivate an inclusive, diverse and collaborative lab environment. Members of traditionally underrepresented groups in STEM are strongly encouraged to apply.


Please contact ramansbach@gmail.com to apply!


Note for students unfamiliar with the Canadian graduate school system: generally, you need a MSc to advance to the PhD, although fast-tracking is possible if we can make a strong case for it. Professor Mansbach is happy to take someone for a MSc and  commit to sponsoring them on through the PhD; Professor Mansbach also happy to take students who solely want a MSc.