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A chemist’s approach to solving biological problems

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  • Full or part time
    Prof V Chudasama
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted

Project Description

UCL Chemistry Department is offering a fully funded studentship to a highly motivated candidate to start in Organic Chemistry and Chemical Biology. An industrial CASE PhD position (over 4 years) is available to work with Dr Vijay Chudasama, Dr James Baker and LifeArc to aid in providing significant steps in this direction via the creation of protein-conjugates generated by site-specific protein modification. The student will carry out his/her doctoral research at UCL and also have the opportunity for work placements at LifeArc. There is a clear need for Organic Chemists to contribute to the field of Biology through the conduit of Chemical Biology. This project will be based on using core synthetic organic chemistry to deliver entities that will meet the needs of forming the next-generation of protein-based therapeutics.

In the area of site-selective protein modification, we are at the centre of developing a ground-breaking technology based on the insertion of small molecules bearing reactive handles into native disulfide bonds and cysteines. Our strategy has been well received in the literature (e.g. Chem. Commun., 2020, DOI: 10.1039/C9CC08744C; Chem. Commun., 2019, 55, 14829; Chem. Sci., 2019, 10, 10919; Nature Chem. Bio., 2018, 14, 955; ACS Nano, 2018, 12, 279; Chem. Sci., 2017, 8, 2056; Nature Chem., 2016, 8, 114; Chem. Sci., 2016, 7, 799; Chem. Sci., 2017, 8, 63; Nature Commun., 2015, 6, 6645; Chem. Commun., 2015, 51, 15304; Chem. Commun., 2015, 51, 10624; full list can be found here: http://chudasama-group.eu/publications/) and we hope to continue to publish greatly in this area. With our experience, interesting challenges in the modification of certain peptides and proteins have arisen. There is an opportunity to contribute to this area and make a significant impact to the field of Chemical Biology.
The student will gain valuable research expertise during the course of this project, making them well qualified for future employment in either an academic or industrial setting. This project will provide a thorough training in synthetic organic chemistry and chemical biology, as well as in a series of transferable skills. The student will also be given plenty of opportunity to be creative, and includes a placement at LifeArc.

We are looking to recruit a highly motivated and ambitious organic chemist with an excellent background in synthetic organic chemistry and an interest in chemical biology. Experience in chemical biology is not a pre-requisite as this project has synthetic organic chemistry at its core and extensive training in chemical biology will be provided. The project will involve various spectroscopic and analytical techniques such as NMR, MS, IR, LC-MS, SDS-PAGE and MALDI-TOF; thus proving the student with an excellent training in a variety of techniques.

Interested candidates should initially contact the supervisor Prof. Vijay Chudasama ([Email Address Removed]) with a degree transcript and a motivation letter expressing interest in this project. Informal inquiries are encouraged. Suitable candidates will be required to complete an electronic application form at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/apply. Any admissions queries should be directed to Dr Jadranka Butorac ([Email Address Removed]).


Funding Notes

The applicants should have, or be expecting to achieve, a first or upper second class Honours degree in Chemistry or equivalent. Due to funding restrictions, this studentship is only open to applicants from the UK and EU, who have been resident in the UK for at least 3 years preceding their start on the programme or have indefinite leave to remain in the UK.



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