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Developing novel metallo-beta-lactamase inhibitors against resistant bacteria

Department of Chemistry

About the Project

Antimicrobials underpin much of modern medicine, specifically for treating infectious disease and prophylactically for other procedures such as organ transplants, cancer chemotherapy and childbirth. The availability of antimicrobials allows the development of robust healthcare infrastructures supporting society in general. Antimicrobial susceptible bacteria are able to, often rapidly, evolve resistance to all currently used antimicrobials. In particular, carbapenem-resistant Gram-negative bacteria are a serious threat to global public health and they have recently been identified as “critical” priority pathogens for which new antibiotics are urgently required by the World Health Organisation. Metallo-beta-lactamases (MBLs) are some of key protein enzymes that mediate the carbapenem-resistance in Gram-negative bacteria. In this project, potential inhibitors of MBLs, such as natural products reported in the literature or small molecules identified in biological screens will be optimised (through chemical modifications guided by rational medicinal chemistry approaches) to develop as therapeutic agents to tackle the carbapenem-resistance in Gram-negative bacteria.

We are looking for an enthusiastic and highly motivated candidate with strong background in medicinal and/or organic chemistry who have, or expect to have, at least a 2:1 degree or equivalent in Chemistry. Additional background in relevant areas, i.e. infectious diseases drug discovery or AMR is desirable. The successful candidate will join in a dynamic team of medicinal chemists, pharmacologists and microbiologists and receive training in synthetic organic chemistry, medicinal chemistry, computational chemistry and microbiology under a team of supervisors from both the University of Liverpool and Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (Dr Adam Roberts is an external co-supervisor from LSTM).

Students are encouraged to undertake some teaching duties for the Department (up to a maximum of 6 hours per week in term time on average) for which they will receive training and will be paid at the regular hourly rate (currently £15.99 per hour). 

To apply please visit: Please quote Studentship Reference: CCPR017 in the Finance Section of the Application Form.

Please send enquiries to Dr W David Hong on

Funding Notes

This studentship is funded by the EPSRC DTP scheme and is offered for 3.5years in total. It provides full tuition fees and a stipend of approx. £15,609 tax free per year for living costs. The stipend costs quoted are for students starting from 1st October 2021 and will rise slightly each year with inflation.
The funding for this studentship also comes with a budget for research and training expenses of £1000 per year, and for those that are eligible, a disabled students allowance to cover the costs of any additional support that is required.

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