Discovery of new pharmaceutical cocrystals using mechanochemical and thermal methods in combination with in-situ X-ray diffraction
Supervisors: Dr. Dejan-Krešimir Bučar and Prof Christoph Salzmann (UCL Department of Chemistry), Dr. Gareth R. Williams (UCL School of Pharmacy) and Dr Oxana V. Magdysyuk (Diamond Light Source)
Application deadline: May 15th 2020
Start date: September 1st 2020
UCL Chemistry Department is offering a fully funded studentship to a highly motivated candidate to start in September 2020. The project will be in collaboration with the UCL School of Pharmacy and Diamond Light Source. The student will carry out their doctoral research at UCL and Diamond Light Source.
Multi-component molecular crystals, such as cocrystals and salts, are highly important materials in biomedical and pharmaceutical research. Their outstanding ability to enable alterations in physicochemical solid-state properties of drug molecules has prompted numerous studies in academic and industrial circles in the last decade. The recent investigations in the commercialisation of cocrystals imposes the need to identify and develop new crystallisation and screening techniques to ensure rapid and thorough discovery processes for cocrystals. Cocrystals are highly prone to polymorphism like all other types of molecular crystals and as a result, it is essential to screen carefully for polymorphic forms during product development. To date, various techniques have been developed for the preparation of cocrystals on a laboratory scale, but mechanochemical methods and reaction cocrystallisation have emerged as particularly popular owing to their efficiency and accessibility.
In this project, you will apply numerous laboratory techniques (FTIR, NMR, Raman spectroscopy, DSC, optical and electron microscopy, single crystal XRD) and in situ high-energy synchrotron X-ray diffraction techniques to identifying transient metastable forms of important pharmaceutical materials. The focus of the project is the monitoring of mechanochemical synthesis of the pharmaceutical materials at both ambient and non-ambient conditions (with a focus on shearing- and pressure-induced transformations). You will perform various state-of-the-art in situ experiments and apply advanced data analysis techniques in your research. You will spend half of your time (~1.5 year) based at the world leading high energy beamline I12 at Diamond Light Source (http://www.diamond.ac.uk) and another half of your time (~1.5 year) at the UCL Department of Chemistry (one of the top chemistry departments in the UK and the 2nd second best ranked in the UK for most impactful research; https://www.ucl.ac.uk/chemistry/) and the UCL School of Pharmacy (the oldest and one of the most highly rated pharmacy schools in the UK https://www.ucl.ac.uk/pharmacy/).
The applicants should have, or be expecting to achieve, a first or upper second-class Honours degree or equivalent. Interested candidates should initially contact the lead supervisor Dr Dejan-Krešimir Bučar ([Email Address Removed]) with a degree transcript and a motivation letter expressing interest in this project. Informal inquiries are encouraged. Suitable candidates will be required to complete an electronic application form at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/apply. Any admissions queries should be directed to Dr Jadranka Butorac ([Email Address Removed]). Applications will be accepted until May 15th but the position will be filled as soon as a suitable candidate has been identified.
Due to funding restrictions, this studentship is only open to applicants from the UK and EU, who have been resident in the UK for at least 3 years preceding their start on the programme or have indefinite leave to remain in the UK.