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Development of small molecules and chemical tools to interrogate cannabinoid receptor signalling and function - organic chemistry PhD

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  • Full or part time
    Dr A Vernall
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

A PhD scholarship is available for an international or New Zealand candidate to work on the design and synthesis of small molecules and chemical tools to study cannabinoid receptors. Cannabinoid receptors (type 1 and type 2) 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 hands-on research experience in laboratory-based multi-step organic synthesis essential.

The work will be based at the School of Pharmacy at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand (, supervised by Dr Andrea Vernall (

The candidate will hold a BSc (Hons) or MSc in organic synthetic or medicinal chemistry, or a BPharm (Hons) or MPharm with significant practical organic chemistry experience/research project (e.g. not a taught Masters), and will be enthusiastic and passionate about research.

A GPA of 7.5 or greater (on a 9 point scale), and/or first class honours grades are required, please provide evidence of this (academic transcript) in your application. You must have completed/had your degree conferred to apply for this project.

To apply: Please contact Dr Vernall ([Email Address Removed]) to explain your interest in this project and how this relates to your previous experience. Please include your CV, academic transcript, the names of three referees 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. International candidates receive the same package as New Zealand residents provided they reside in New Zealand for the duration of the project and study under a New Zealand student visa.

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