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Design and synthesis of novel, targeted, anti-cancer agents

  • Full or part time
    Prof H Osborn
    Dr F Greco
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

One of the major problems of cancer chemotherapy is that the drugs used have poor selectivities for cancer cells and cause damage to normal cells and organs. This lack of selectivity leads to the many undesirable side effects associated with chemotherapy, and limits the scope of many traditional therapies. For this reason, researchers have become interested in preparing new anti-cancer agents with improved targeting properties, affording greater selectivity. Within this project the student will have an opportunity to design new and potentially selective treatments for cancer. Using synthetic chemistry, a range of targets will be prepared and analysed using both chemical and enzymatic techniques to ascertain how the structural features of the new drugs affect their selectivity of action. The student will also have an opportunity to develop cell culture techniques to allow them to assess the cytotoxicity of their products in a range of different cell lines. Such information will allow the student to devise a second generation of anti-cancer agents, that optimize the beneficial features of the first generation prepared.

The research project will span from chemical synthesis of new molecules, and their characterization, to in vitro studies to determine cytotoxic activity. Within our School we offer state-of-the-art facilities from recently refurbished laboratories to new analytical instruments including 700 and 500 MHz NMR’s; single crystal, powder and small angle X-ray diffractometry; infrared and Raman imaging spectroscopy; thermal analysis ranging from DSC to TGA and solution calorimetry and analytical microscopy. Coupled with this interdisciplinary technical training, we offer support to develop generic skills through weekly meetings of our research group and by presentations at national and international meetings.

Funding Notes

Applicants should hold or expect to gain a minimum of a 2:1 Bachelor Degree or equivalent in Chemistry, Pharmaceutical Sciences or Pharmacy, or related disciplines


For recent relevant references from the group please see:-
“Novel synthesized flavone derivatives provide significant insight into the structural features required for enhanced anti-proliferative activity”, D. Ravishankar, K.A. Watson, F. Greco, H.M.I. Osborn, RSC Advances, 2016, 6, 64544-64556
“Exploring quercetin and luteolin derivatives as antiangiogenic agents”, D. Ravishankar, K.A. Watson, S.Y. Boateng, R.J. Green, F. Greco, H.M.I. Osborn, Eur. J. Med. Chem., 2015, 97, 259-274.

How good is research at University of Reading in Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 23.20

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

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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