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Coordination chemistry approaches to new biosensors and imaging tools and the elucidation of their interactions with cancer cells

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Sunday, December 16, 2018
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Supervisory team:
Lead supervisor - Prof Sofia Pascu (Department of Chemistry)
Co-supervisors - Dr Pedro Estrela (Department of Electrical & Electronic Engineering), Dr Charareh Pourzand (Department of Pharmacy & Pharmacology)

In this project, we will first devise a generic synthetic chemistry strategy with a strong focus on coordination chemistry and medicinal chemistry approaches leading to a chemical toolkit ready for assembly into new sensors and imaging entities relevant to new approaches to targeting prostate cancer cells under normal levels of oxygen (normoxia) and under oxygen deficiency (hypoxia). Then we will also use functionalised carbon nanomaterials with controlled dimensions based on graphene nanoflakes as synthetic scaffolds for the assembly of molecular species into biosensing devices able to recognise prostate cancer cells featuring biomarkers specific to hypoxia as well as normoxia. In addition to the supervisory team named above the work will also involve a close collaboration with our established external collaborators to the project, Prof Chris Marshall and Dr Stephen Paisey (PETIC Cardiff) and Prof Stan Botchway (Research complex at Harwell).

The successful candidate will be a part of a dynamic research team with training opportunities across academic as well as large facilities and collaborating hospitals, bringing together training opportunities across disciplines and across sectors, complemented by researcher career development tools available as a part of the Doctoral College at the University of Bath. Particularly, as a result of the recently completed collaborative network in the multidisciplinary field of biosensor design (PROSENSE, with the aim of developing improved devices for prostate cancer diagnosis, prognosis and treatments), we are in a unique position to continue to build on this success and a multidisciplinary international collaborative network.

Candidates should have a very good honours degree in the fields of Chemistry, with interests, skills and experience in practical synthetic organic, inorganic chemistry and an interest and aptitude for materials chemistry, electrochemistry, biological chemistry, physical chemistry and analytical chemistry.

The successful researcher will be enrolled as a Chemistry PhD student and based at the University of Bath working within the Chemistry, Pharmacy & Pharmacology and Electronic & Electrical Engineering Departments, but secondments are planned to our collaborators laboratories (Research Complex at Harwell, Cardiff PETIC hospital).


Informal enquiries are welcomed and should be directed to Prof Sofia Pascu,

Formal applications should be made via the University of Bath’s online application form:

Please ensure that you quote the supervisor’s name and project title in the ‘Your research interests’ section.

More information about applying for a PhD at Bath may be found here:

Anticipated start date: 30 September 2019.

Funding Notes

Candidates applying for this project will be considered for a University Research Studentship covering UK/EU tuition fees, a training support fee of £1,000 per annum and a tax-free maintenance allowance at the UKRI Doctoral Stipend rate (£14,777 in 2018-19) for a period of up to 3.5 years.


Cortezon-Tamarit, F., Sarpaki, S., Calatayud, D. G., Mirabello, V. and Pascu, S. I., 2016. Applications of “Hot” and “Cold” Bis(thiosemicarbazonato) Metal Complexes in Multimodal Imaging. Chemical Record, 16 (3), pp. 1380-1397.

Alam, I. S., Arrowsmith, R. L., Cortezon-tamarit, F., Twyman, F., Kociok-köhn, G., Botchway, S. W., Dilworth, J. R., Carroll, L., Aboagye, E. O. and Pascu, S. I., 2016. Microwave gallium-68 radiochemistry for kinetically stable bis(thiosemicarbazone) complexes: structural investigations and cellular uptake under hypoxia. Dalton Transactions, 45 (1), pp. 144-155.

How good is research at University of Bath in Chemistry?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 33.10

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

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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