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  Methanimine: A C-N Building Block Realised

   Department of Chemistry

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  Dr Ruth Webster  No more applications being accepted

About the Project

The University of Bath is inviting applications for a fully-funded PhD studentship in the Department of Chemistry under the supervision of Dr Ruth Webster.

For more information, see:

The early origins of life come from the reaction of the simplest small molecules. These chemical building blocks increased in complexity until more intricate systems were formed, eventually leading to amino acids and nucleotide bases; the precursors to supramolecular species fundamental to life such as DNA and RNA. Methanimine is one of these simple chemical building blocks. Methanimine is especially reactive but it has been detected in its isolated form in the harsh environment of space. In the laboratory it is formed under extreme reaction conditions but has only been detected transiently because it instantly reacts with itself. We have developed the first method to prepare and isolate a methanimine adduct under very mild, iron-catalysed reaction conditions. This project seeks to develop the chemistry of this elusive molecule.

Irrespective of synthetic route, the use of methanimine in controlled organic synthesis is unprecedented: this is an exciting opportunity to develop our current creative science landscape. We have unique potential to synthesise novel organic motifs simply because chemists had no access to methanimine as a synthon before: this could lead to a paradigm shift in terms of what organic molecules can be prepared or functionalised.

Candidate requirements:

Applicants should hold, or expect to receive, a First Class or good Upper Second Class Honours degree in Chemistry, or the equivalent from an overseas university. A master’s level qualification would also be advantageous.

How to apply:

Informal enquiries are welcomed and should be directed to Dr Ruth Webster, [Email Address Removed].

Formal applications should be made via the University of Bath’s online application form for a PhD in Chemistry:

More information about applying for a PhD at Bath may be found here:

Anticipated start date: 28 September 2020.

Funding Notes

UK and EU students who have been ordinarily resident in the UK since September 2017 will be considered for a 4-year EPSRC iCASE studentship with Astra Zeneca. Funding will cover UK/EU tuition fees, an enhanced stipend (2019/20 UKRI rate £15,009 per annum tax-free, increased annually in line with the GDP inflator + £1,000 per annum stipend top-up from the industrial partner) and a generous budget for research expenses, training and conference travel.

Note: Applications may close earlier than the advertised deadline if a suitable candidate is found; therefore, early application is strongly recommended.