About the Project
Vaccines are generally very effective at protecting people against various viruses such as rubeola, rubella and influenza. A first vaccine against the deadly virus Ebola has recently been approved many years after the first virus outbreak reported in 1976 in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The development of new vaccines can take several years and is consequently not an option to combat new virus outbreaks. In the case of the SARS outbreak, which disappeared relatively quickly, companies abandoned the development of vaccines because of lack of patients for clinical trials. Apart for attempts to contain the spread of novel viruses by isolation measures, several pharmaceutical companies have also been trying to develop broad-spectrum antivirals, which some of them are currently undergoing clinical trials with patient infected by COVID-19.
The aim of the proposed research is to develop chemical methods, to design and prepare several peptidomimetic inhibitors of coronavirus enzymes in order to help develop broad-spectrum antiviral drugs.1,2
The successful candidate will carry out molecular modelling studies to design inhibitors based on known coronavirus enzymes and study the preparation of selected compounds. The chosen enzyme(s) will be produced within the group of Dr Deng and enzymatic assays will be developed to test synthetic molecules and our collection of natural products. We will collaborate with pharmaceutical companies once potent in vitro enzyme inhibitors have been found.
The student will be closely supervised and receive appropriate training in medicinal chemistry, molecular modelling, organic/peptide chemistry, analytical techniques and molecular biology.
Candidates should have (or expect to achieve) a UK honours degree at 2.1 or above (or equivalent) in Chemistry, Medicinal Chemistry, Pharmacy, Biochemistry, Cell & Molecular Biology along with knowledge of Organic Chemistry.
• Apply for Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry
• State name of the lead supervisor as the Name of Proposed Supervisor
• State ‘Self-funded’ as Intended Source of Funding
• State the exact project title on the application form
When applying please ensure all required documents are attached:
• All degree certificates and transcripts (Undergraduate AND Postgraduate MSc-officially translated into English where necessary)
• Detailed CV
Informal inquiries can be made to Dr Laurent Trembleau ([Email Address Removed]) with a copy of your curriculum vitae and cover letter. All general enquiries should be directed to the Postgraduate Research School ([Email Address Removed])
2. K. Yunjeong et al “Broad-Spectrum Antivirals against 3C or 3C-Like Proteases of Picornaviruses, Noroviruses, and Coronaviruses” J. Vir. 2012, 86, 11754-11762.
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