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Development of bioorthogonal stimulated Raman scattering microscopy for evaluation of drug biodistribution

  • Full or part time
    Prof A N Hulme
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Applications are invited for an EPSRC‐funded collaborative PhD for the development and application of novel bioorthogonal tagging and multi‐modal imaging technologies to enhance preclinical evaluation of drugs and associated pharmacodynamic biomarkers. The project will be supervised by Prof Alison Hulme (School of Chemistry), Prof Val Brunton (IGMM) and Dr Elisabetta Chiarparin (AstraZeneca UK). The student will be based both at the EaStCHEM School of Chemistry at the University of Edinburgh and at the Cancer Research UK Edinburgh Centre. The student will gain an interdisciplinary training in bioorthogonal chemistry, Raman and fluorescence microscopy, and cell biology.

We propose the development and application of novel multi-modal imaging and bioorthogonal tagging technologies to enhance the preclinical evaluation of drugs and associated pharmacodynamic biomarkers [1]. This is a multidisciplinary approach encompassing novel chemistry and state-of-the art imaging technologies. It builds on our expertise using a multi-modal imaging platform that allows stimulated Raman scattering (SRS) mapping of drug uptake to phenotypic responses by combining spectroscopically distinct Raman species with fluorescent reporters [2, 3]. The unique capabilities of SRS in providing temporal and spatial measurements of drug distribution at the subcellular level offers the potential to transform our understanding of intracellular drug distribution and mechanism of action and impact on drug discovery programs. This studentship will provide evidence that SRS imaging is a powerful tool for the quantitative assessment of intracellular drug concentrations. Demonstration of the capacity of SRS to image drugs, thus giving additional read‐outs of mechanism of action and drug retention and distribution within tissues, will provide further support to encourage uptake of the technology by industry.

Applicants should have, or be about to obtain, a 2.i or 1st class MChem degree, or an MSc level degree in chemistry or a related discipline.

Applications will be considered until an excellent candidate has been identified. Applicants should submit a CV, a sample of academic writing and a cover‐letter describing your previous research experience, reasons to apply and justifying your eligibility in pdf format. The names and contact details of two academic referees should also be supplied. Applications should be sent to Alison Hulme ().
For further information concerning the project, please contact Alison Hulme () or Val Brunton ().

The School of Chemistry holds a Silver Athena SWAN award in recognition of our commitment to advance gender equality in higher education. The University is a member of the Race Equality Charter and is a Stonewall Scotland Diversity Champion, actively promoting LGBT equality. The University has a range of initiatives to support a family friendly working environment. See our University Initiatives website for further information. University Initiatives website:

Funding Notes

The studentship is fully funded for 42 months and covers tuition fees and an annual stipend (starting at £15,009 per annum) for a candidate satisfying UKRI residency criteria, for more details see: View Website


[1] Tipping WJ, Lee M, Serrels A, Brunton VG, Hulme AN. Stimulated Raman Scattering microscopy: an emerging tool for drug discovery. Chem Soc Rev 2016 45:2075-2089; [2] Tipping WJ, Lee M, Serrels A, Brunton VG, Hulme AN. Imaging drug uptake by bioorthogonal Stimulated Raman Scattering microscopy. Chem Sci 2017 8:5606-15; [3] Lee M, Downes A, Chau Y-Y, Serrels B, Hastie N, Elfick A, Brunton V, Frame M, Serrels A. In vivo imaging of the tumor and its associated microenvironment using combined CARS/2-photon microscopy. IntraVital 2015 4:e1055430.

How good is research at University of Edinburgh in Chemistry?
(joint submission with University of St Andrews)

FTE Category A staff submitted: 43.30

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

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