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Development of chemical tools to interrogate cannabinoid receptors

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

Suitable for an international or New Zealand candidate to work on the design and synthesis of small molecules and chemical tools to study cannabinoid type 2 receptors. Cannabinoid receptors are G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) that control many cellular processes. There is huge scope to further utilise these receptors as effective drug targets if their role in disease pathology is better understood.
This project will involve the design and multi-step chemical synthesis of small molecules and tools/probes targeting cannabinoid receptors, using techniques such as anhydrous reaction conditions, column chromatography, HPLC, NMR, MS and HPLC. Some research experience in laboratory-based multi-step organic synthesis is essential (e.g. a minimum of a synthetic Honours or Masters research project with several chemical reactions).
The work will be based at the School of Pharmacy at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand (, supervised by Dr Andrea Vernall (
To apply: Please contact Dr Vernall () to explain your interest in this project and how this relates to your previous experience. Please include your CV, academic transcript and an English language test document if required

Funding Notes

The applicant must be eligible for admission to the PhD programme at the University of Otago, and apply and be awarded a University of Otago doctoral scholarship. The PhD scholarship provides tuition fees and a tax-free personal allowance of NZD$25,000 pa for three years.
The candidate will hold a BSc (Hons) or MSc in organic or medicinal chemistry or synthetic drug discovery or a related discipline, or a BPharm (Hons) or MPharm. The candidate will have completed a practical multi-step organic chemistry project (e.g. not a taught Masters) and will be enthusiastic and passionate about research.

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