Coventry University Featured PhD Programmes
FindA University Ltd Featured PhD Programmes
University of Kent Featured PhD Programmes
The University of Manchester Featured PhD Programmes
Cardiff University Featured PhD Programmes

Chemical Biology of the Genome and the Epigenome

Project Description

Applications are invited for a 4-year PhD studentship in the group led by Professor Sir Shankar Balasubramanian, on a multidisciplinary project exploiting both chemistry and biology to explore fundamental mechanisms of genome function ( We seek a creative and enthusiastic PhD student to work on one of our two primary research goals:

(i) An investigation of the structure and function of DNA (and RNA) secondary structures called G-quadruplexes. Studies both in vitro and in cells suggest G-quadruplexes may be important for the control of transcription, translation and other key processes in biology. We employ chemical biology, molecular biophysics, structural biology, cell biology and genomics to explore mechanisms involving G-quadruplexes with an emphasis on intervention strategies for cancer [e.g. see eLife, 2019, 8:e46793; Nature, 2018, 558, 465; Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology, 2017, 18, 279; Nature Chemistry, 2017, 9, 1110; Nature Genetics, 2016, 48, 1267; Nature Communications, 2017, 8, 14432].

(ii) An investigation of base modifications in nucleic acids. The DNA alphabet also includes natural chemical modifications to DNA bases that can change the structure, recognition and function of DNA. Our research aims to elucidate these modifications and their effects on the folded structure of DNA, protein-DNA interactions and also the assembly of nucleosomes with the goal of explaining how and why this modulates the function of cells and organisms. Examples will include 5-methylcytosine, a well-known epigenetic feature in addition to more-recently discovered modified bases such as 5-hydroxymethylcytosine, 5-formylcytosine and 5-carboxylcytosine. Our lab employs and develops chemical, physical, biological and genomic approaches to investigate the presence of, and to gain mechanistic insights into modified base function in human, mouse and parasite genomes [e.g. see: Nature Chemistry, 2019, 11, 629; Nature Chemistry, 2018, 10, 1258; Nature Reviews Chemistry, 2017, 1, 0069; Nature Chemical Biology, 2015, 11, 555; Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, 2015, 22, 44; Nature Chemistry, 2014, 6, 1049; Science, 2012, 336, 934].

Applicants must have (or expect to obtain) at least the equivalent of a UK upper second class Master’s degree in a chemical or biological discipline that is relevant to the project. Ideally, the candidate will have a strong background in organic chemistry and/or chemical biology. A good knowledge of nucleic acid chemistry and/or molecular biology methods is desirable. Motivation, creativity and intellectual independence are desirable as are excellent communication skills with the ability to work collaboratively.

To apply for this vacancy, please email a cover letter, CV, detailed academic transcripts and the contact details for at least two academic referees to: Jo Lockhart, PA to Professor Balasubramanian, (email: ), including ’PhD - Chemistry’ in the subject line. Your cover letter should explain why you wish to be considered for the studentship and describe the qualities and experience you will bring to the role. Please also state how you learned of the studentship.

If you wish to be considered for any other available studentships in the Chemistry Department starting in October 2020, you must also apply online via the University Applicant Portal (further information at Please note that there is an application fee.

For queries regarding the post, please contact Jo Lockhart at

Please quote reference MA20727 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

Funding Notes

The studentship commences in October 2020 and provides a maintenance grant and tuition fees at the UK/EU rate. Owing to funding restrictions the studentship is not available to non-EU nationals.

How good is research at University of Cambridge in Chemistry?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 62.70

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

Email Now

Insert previous message below for editing? 
You haven’t included a message. Providing a specific message means universities will take your enquiry more seriously and helps them provide the information you need.
Why not add a message here
* required field
Send a copy to me for my own records.

Your enquiry has been emailed successfully

FindAPhD. Copyright 2005-2019
All rights reserved.