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  New tools for old foes: developing a new class of antimicrobial metallodrugs (LORD_U24DTP)

   School of Chemistry

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  Dr R Lord  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Primary Supervisor: Dr Rianne Lord  

Secondary Supervisor: Professor Mark Webber (QIB) 

Bacterial infections are the second-leading cause of deaths globally, and whilst antibiotics have undoubtedly saved millions of lives, their extensive use, coupled with pathogen evolution has resulted in drastic increases in prevalence of antibiotic-resistant strains. Amongst these, Gram-negative pathogens pose the most serious risks to health, as they are intrinsically resistant to many antibiotics. New antibiotics for treating resistant strains is a global research priority, however, little is known about metallodrugs that can treat Gram-negative pathogens or the impact they could have on human health. This project will uncover fundamental understanding of how new molecules, which are active against Gram-negative pathogens, can be modified for improved activity. The project will provide a detailed understanding of their cellular modes of action and which factors impact entry into the bacterial cell. 

This PhD project is highly interdisciplinary and will involve training in a wide range of techniques, from synthetic chemistry, biophysical, chemical biology, and cell biology. Led by Dr Rianne Lord at UEA and co-supervised by Professor Mark Webber at the Quadram Institute, the successful applicant will enjoy the benefits of working in both a university environment and research institute. 

The student will have, or expect to obtain a first class, 2(i) or equivalent Honours degree in Chemistry, Medicinal Chemistry, Biochemistry, Biology, Pharmacy, or a related area. 

Informal enquiries are welcomed, please contact Dr Rianne Lord or Professor Mark Webber.

The Norwich Research Park (NRP) Biosciences Doctoral Training Programme (DTP) is offering fully-funded studentships for October 2024 entry. The programme offers postgraduates the opportunity to undertake a 4-year PhD research project whilst enhancing professional development and research skills through a comprehensive training programme. You will join a vibrant community of world-leading researchers. All NRPDTP students undertake a three-month professional internship placement (PIPS) during their study. The placement offers exciting and invaluable work experience designed to enhance professional development. Full support and advice will be provided by our Professional Internship team. Students with, or expecting to attain, at least an upper second class honours degree, or equivalent, are invited to apply. 

This project has been shortlisted for funding by the NRPDTP. Shortlisted applicants will potentially be interviewed on 4, 5, and 6 June 2024.

For further information on eligibility and how to apply visit here.

Our partners value diverse and inclusive work environments that are positive and supportive. Students are selected for admission without regard to gender, marital or civil partnership status, disability, race, nationality, ethnic origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation, age or social background. 

Entry requirements

At least UK equivalence Bachelors (Honours) 2:1 or UK equivalence Master's degree. English Language requirement (Faculty of Science equivalent: IELTS 6.5 overall, 6 in each category).

Start date

October 2024

Biological Sciences (4) Chemistry (6)

Funding Notes

This project is awarded with a 4-year Norwich Research Park Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (NRPDTP) PhD studentship. The studentship includes payment of tuition fees (directly to the University), a stipend to cover living expenses (2023/4 stipend rate: £18,622), and a Research Training Support Grant of £5,000pa for each year of the studentship.


Allison, M. et al. Chemistry – A European Journal 2021, 27(11), 3737-3744.
Yasir, M. et al. Genome Research 2020, 30(2), 239-249

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