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A modular platform for chiral saturated azacycle synthesis

   Department of Chemistry

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  Dr Alex Cresswell  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The University of Bath is inviting applications for the following PhD project commencing in October 2022 under the supervision of Dr Alex Cresswell in the Department of Chemistry.

Eligible applicants will be considered for a fully-funded studentship – for more information, see the Funding Notes section below.

Overview of the Project:

This project will develop a new approach to stereoselective saturated azacycle synthesis that could address major challenges in this area, including synthetic expedience, automation, scalability, and stereocontrol. The student will synthesise new reagents for the modular and transition metal-free assembly of cyclic imines from aldehyde building blocks. A subsequent enantioselective imine reduction will afford valuable chiral azacycles, many of which would be cumbersome to access using current state-of-the-art. This will allow rapid access to valuable modular building blocks for medicinal chemistry and targeted protein degradation (TPD) molecular glue development using automation. 

Project keywords: Catalysis; heterocycles; stereoselective; amines.

Candidate Requirements:

Applicants should hold, or expect to receive, a First Class Honours degree (or the equivalent) in Chemistry and a strong motivation to carry out technically challenging research in organic synthesis and catalysis. Previous experience of synthetic organic chemistry beyond core undergraduate teaching (e.g., industrial placement) would be beneficial but not essential.. A master’s level qualification would also be advantageous.

Non-UK applicants must meet our English language entry requirement.

Enquiries and Applications:

Informal enquiries are welcomed and should be directed to Dr Alex Cresswell (email: [Email Address Removed]).

Formal applications should be made via the University of Bath’s online application form for a PhD in Chemistry.

More information about applying for a PhD at Bath may be found on our website.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion:

We value a diverse research environment and aim to be an inclusive university, where difference is celebrated and respected. We welcome and encourage applications from under-represented groups.

If you have circumstances that you feel we should be aware of that have affected your educational attainment, then please feel free to tell us about it in your application form. The best way to do this is a short paragraph at the end of your personal statement.

Funding Notes

Candidates applying for this project may be considered for a 3.5-year Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC DTP) studentship. Funding covers tuition fees, a stipend (£15,609 per annum, 2021/22 rate) and research/training expenses (£1,000 per annum). EPSRC DTP studentships are open to both Home and International students; however, in line with guidance from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the number of awards available to International candidates will be limited to 30% of the total.


1. Askey, H. E.; Grayson, J. D.; Tibbetts, J. D.; Turner-Dore, J. C.; Holmes, J. M.; Kociok-Kohn, G.; Wrigley, G. L.; Cresswell, A. J. Photocatalytic Hydroaminoalkylation of Styrenes with Unprotected Primary Alkylamines. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2021, 143, 15936–15945.
2. Ryder, A. S. H.; Cunningham, W. B.; Ballantyne, G.; Mules, T.; Kinsella, A. G.; Turner-Dore, J.; Alder, C. M.; Edwards, L .J.; McKay, B. S. J.; Grayson, M. N.; et al. Photocatalytic α-Tertiary Amine Synthesis via C−H Alkylation of Unmasked Primary Amines. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2020, 59, 14986–14991.
3. Grayson, J. D.; Cresswell, A. J. γ-Amino Phosphonates via the Photocatalytic α-C–H Alkylation of Primary Amines. Tetrahedron 2021, 81, 131896.
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