About the Project
Microorganisms from extreme environments such as the cold deep seas, Antarctic, and Arid and hyper-arid deserts have been shown to produce a range of complex natural products with diverse and potent biological activity. Many diseases, especially infectious diseases, became resistant to the clinically available drugs which require prompt action for the discovery of new drug candidates. After two decades relying on synthetic and combinatorial chemistry, major pharmaceutical companies started recently to increase their interest back to natural products due to the failure of synthetic chemistry to cover this gap. In this project you will investigate the chemistry of these compounds and their potential for treating a range of diseases. Via collaborations, we obtain diverse samples from different extreme habitats from which you will isolate and identify unique bacterial and fungal strains using molecular approaches. Cultivating these isolated microbial strains under different conditions gives rise to varied metabolic profiles. You will use a range of chromatographic techniques to isolate these compounds from these cultured microbes. The next step will be to identify their chemical structures using spectroscopic techniques such as NMR and HRMS, followed by testing the compounds in a range of biological assays to ascertain their biological activity and potential for use against human diseases. As part of this project you will gain skills in microbiology, fermentation processes, chemical analysis, natural product chemistry, structure elucidation, and biological testing.
The successful applicant should have a background in organic chemistry, chromatographic approaches, Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and mass spectrometry. Applicants should also be aware that Additional Research Costs of £4,000 per annum are required (above Tuition Fees and Living Expenses) for consumables.