Solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) is a powerful method for studying the molecular structure and dynamics of a broad range of systems from heterogeneous materials to biological molecules. Sometimes solid-state NMR can suffer from low sensitivity, because of the small nuclear spin polarizations involved, so that long acquisition times or large sample volumes are required. However, weak NMR signals can be dramatically enhanced by dynamic nuclear polarization (DNP), which involves transfer of electron spin polarization from radicals implanted in the sample to nearby nuclei. The substantial enhancements (up to 300-fold) obtained with DNP make NMR studies of dilute species feasible for the first time and have already prompted exciting new NMR applications to interfaces, porous materials and microcrystalline substances.
The University of Nottingham has recently established a DNP-enhanced solid-state NMR Facility (unique in the UK) funded by a grant of £2.5 M from EPSRC. In this collaboration with GSK DNP-enhanced solid-state NMR will be used to study pharmaceutical formulations and drug delivery systems. These are challenging systems to study by solid-state NMR because of the (often) low concentration of the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API). However, the substantial signal enhancements obtained with DNP will allow natural abundance investigations of polymorphs or hydration states of APIs, of formulations involving amorphous APIs and of the interactions at the interfaces between APIs and excipients such as fillers, binders, lubricants and preservatives.
The PhD studentship is available from September 2019 and is fully funded for 4 years via a stipend covering PhD tuition fees (at the Home/EU rate) and a tax-free living allowance (£14,777 per annum). As part of the project the student will spend up to three months at the GSK Medicines Research Centre in Hertfordshire UK acquiring skills in formulation science and manufacturing samples.
The student will gain expertise in solid-state NMR spectroscopy, especially as applied to pharmaceutical formulations, as well as experience of DNP-enhanced methods. Transferable skills in computer programming, data analysis and scientific communication will also be acquired. In addition, the student will benefit from hands-on experience in industry, while pursuing a research project in an academic environment, and gain knowledge in the business of drug discovery and development.
Applications are invited from outstanding EU/UK students holding or expecting to gain a good undergraduate degree in Chemistry, Physics or a related subject. Prior experience in solid-state NMR is not essential. Apply online at http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/pgstudy/apply/apply-online.aspx
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The solid-state NMR group at Nottingham works on the design of new solid-state NMR experiments and their application to chemistry, energy research, nanotechnology and environmental science. The group has three solid-state NMR spectrometers, operating at 1H Larmor frequencies of 300, 600 and 800 MHz. A 600 MHz Dynamic Nuclear Polarization MAS NMR spectrometer was installed in Nottingham in November 2015. For more information about the solid-state NMR group see: http://www.solidstatenmr.org.uk/
The University of Nottingham is ranked in the top 100 universities in the world (QS World University Rankings).