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Transformative Peptide Chemistry for RNA Nanotechnology

Transformative Peptide Chemistry for RNA Nanotechnology

Transformative Peptide Chemistry for RNA Nanotechnology is an inaugural cohort-based Thematic Doctoral Pathway programme from Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU). Our Thematic Doctoral Pathway strives to provide an intellectually stimulating, diverse community of researchers who work together across disciplinary and professional boundaries to address real world challenges. We work with local, national and international networks of leading academics and non-academic partners to harness the latest technical and theoretical advances.

The Thematic Doctoral Pathway will equip students with expertise for the development of targeted nucleic acid therapies and produce doctoral candidates with state-of-the-art skills for bench-to-bedside delivery of small RNA nanotherapeutics for complex disorders. We have 3 PhD training opportunities aimed at cancers with poor prognoses:

  • A platform technology for small RNA delivery to lung cancer
  • A platform technology for small RNA delivery for glioblastoma
  • A platform technology for small RNA delivery for medulloblastoma

You will be allocated a dedicated PhD supervision team with additional oversight and support provided by the Thematic Doctoral Pathway Strategic Delivery Board. This is an exciting project that spans chemical biology, nanomedicine, mathematical analysis and cellular bioscience. The ultimate goal is to expand the safe, effective, and targeted delivery of chemically stable nucleic acid therapies to multiple diseases with unmet needs so that the exploitation of these medicines is maximised for society.

Training provided includes:

  • Microwave-assisted solid phase peptide synthesis
  • Bioconjugation of peptides and small RNAs (miRNA, siRNA)
  • Purification and characterisation of molecular entities using HPLC and mass spectrometry
  • Electron spin resonance (ESR) spectroscopy
  • Mammalian cell culture and analysis
  • Confocal laser scanning microscopy
  • Phase Holographic Imaging
  • Nanoformulation using biodegradable materials
  • Enhanced training opportunities around X-ray computed tomography, microfluidic manufacturing and project-specific cellular models.
Transformative Peptide Chemistry for RNA Nanotechnology

You will be based in the School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences at LJMU. Your research will be supported by outstanding supervisors who will supply intellectual challenge, academic mentorship and cohort development to help you to develop to your full potential.

Candidate Background

We are seeking a highly motivated researcher to work with us and welcome interest from potential applicants with non-standard qualifications who can demonstrate knowledge, experience and skills developed in the workplace. The candidate will be a self-starter with excellent ability to work independently and in a team. You should have a background in peptide chemistry, nucleic acid chemistry and/or molecular cell biology (especially non-coding RNA biology) along with critical thinking and good organisational skills. Relevant degree disciplines include Chemistry, Biochemistry, Biology, and Pharmaceutical Science. You will be willing to travel within the UK or abroad as the need arises to meet with project partners, present findings at conferences or deliver public engagement with science workshops.

In addition, the Pathway offers transferable skills and development training through events such as regular writing days, how to publish, working with non-academic partners, career development sessions and proactive engagement with the Researcher Development Framework

International applicants should ensure they have met the LJMU English proficiency requirements prior to applying. Details are at

Interviews will be held week commencing 6th November 2023.

Application deadline: 30th September 2023. To apply, please send a CV and a brief cover letter outlining your reasons for applying to Dr Kehinde Ross at or Dr Alice McCloskey at

Please note, if successful, the start date for PhD registration is 29th February 2024 at the latest.

About LJMU

LJMU promotes a ‘Respect Always’ culture and has a zero-tolerance policy towards harassment. The university has a thriving networks of departmental equality, diversity and inclusion groups that work to create and promote an inclusive environment for students and staff from diverse backgrounds. Our efforts to decolonise curricula and research practices as well as holding institutional Athena Swan and Race Equality Charter Bronze Awards are both examples of the university’s commitment towards building a truly inclusive community.

Funding Notes

Funding is for three years of a full-time PhD degree programme, and includes:

  • Tuition fees
  • A maintenance stipend of around £17,668 per annum (rising in line with URKI rates)
  • Additional research costs of up to £1600 per year for the stated duration of the programme
  • Enhanced training and skills development from LJMU’s Researcher Development Programme
  • Coaching and/or mentoring support
  • Additional subject-specific training relevant to the cluster (this may include guest lectures, research sandpits, advanced methodological training, depending on the cluster)

For further information, please contact Dr Kehinde Ross or Dr Alice McCloskey.

Register your interest for this PhD