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iCASE PhD in Cell and Molecular Biosciences - Studying the mechanism of PROTACs in drug discovery by high-throughput MALDI TOF mass spectrometry

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Monday, January 21, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Number of awards


Start date and duration

23 September 2019 for 4 years.

Application closing date

21 January 2019.


Applications are invited for a fully funded 4-year BBSRC iCASE PhD studentship to work in the group of Prof Matthias Trost at Newcastle University on a collaborative project with GSK.

The ubiquitin system is becoming an exciting new area for drug discovery. Particularly, targeted protein degradation using bifunctional small molecules known as Proteolysis-Targeting Chimeras (PROTACs) is emerging as a novel therapeutic modality (Bondeson et al. Nature Chem Biol, 2015). PROTACs redirect the cellular protein quality control machinery to target specific proteins for highly selective degradation and removal from the cell. However, the mechanisms of this process are poorly understood.

In this highly collaborative PhD between GSK and the Trost lab you will be trained in biochemistry and state-of-the-art techniques such as high-throughput MALDI TOF mass spectrometry. We have used this technology successfully in the ubiquitin system (Ritorto et al, Nature Comm, 2014; De Cesare et al, Cell Chem Biol, 2018) and other areas. This project includes an industrial placement at GSK.

The Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences (ICaMB) at Newcastle University is funded and equipped to the highest international standards. Our new mass spectrometry facility is equipped with state-of-the art-mass spectrometers including an Orbitrap Fusion Lumos and a Bruker RapiFlex MALDI TOF-TOF.



Name of supervisor(s)

Professor Matthias Trost (, Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences (

Eligibility Criteria:

You must have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 honours degree or international equivalent, in a subject relating to biochemistry, including: biology, chemistry and biomedical sciences. A further qualification such as an MRes is advantageous.

In addition, the candidate should be motivated, able to work independently and thrive in a multi-disciplinary and international research environment. Good communication skills are essential as is the ability to work as part of a team.

The award is available to UK/EU applicants only. Depending on how you meet the BBSRC’s eligibility criteria (, you may be entitled to a full or a partial award.

How to apply:

You must apply through the University’s online postgraduate application system. To do this please ‘Create a new account’ (

Only mandatory fields need to be completed. However, you will need to include the following information:
•insert the programme code 8300F* in the programme of study section
•select ‘PhD in the Faculty of Medical Sciences (full time) –Cell and Molecular Biosciences as the programme of study
•insert the studentship code CB152 in the studentship/partnership reference field
•attach a covering letter and CV. The covering letter must state the title of the studentship, quote the studentship reference code CB152 and state how your interests and experience relate to the project
•attach degree transcripts and certificates and, if English is not your first language, a copy of your English language qualifications.


For further details, please contact:

Professor Matthias Trost (
Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences (

Funding Notes

100% of UK/EU tuition fees paid and annual living expenses of £14,553 (full award). A partial award covers fees at the UK/EU rate only.

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