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NUAcT PhD Studentship in Medicinal Chemistry - small molecules to control neuroinflammation


School of Natural and Environmental Sciences

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Dr K Madden No more applications being accepted Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

Number of awards:
1

Start date and duration:
September 2021 for 3 years.

Overview:
Interested in drug discovery for neurodegenerative disease? This PhD project aims to explore the potential of calming the body’s response to inflammation as a treatment for neurodegenerative disease.

This studentship aims to develop new small molecule inhibitors of the interferon-signalling pathway, specifically aiming to reduce the body’s response to type-I interferons. These inflammatory cytokines produced by cells are closely linked to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease. This project is part of an interdisciplinary effort to study control of neuroinflammation within the Madden group at Newcastle University (https://www.ncl.ac.uk/nes/staff/profile/katemadden.html#research). This project follows a phenotypic drug discovery approach, where compounds are tested for their ability to induce a particular cell change, rather than their ability to bind a molecular target.

The successful candidate will be based in the School of Natural and Environmental Sciences, with the main aims of the project being:

Design and synthesis of new type-I interferon signalling inhibitors, considering likely blood-brain barrier penetrant properties, to develop Structure-Activity Relationships
Development of chemical probes for target deconvolution
Prioritisation of new hit compounds for hit-to-lead optimisation.
There is also the opportunity to perform cell and molecular biology within the Immunity and Inflammation group in the Faculty of Medical Sciences, where the student can train in performance of the primary phenotypic activity screen, and in photoaffinity or activity-based pull-down studies.

Sponsor:
Newcastle/Monash University Academic Track Scheme

Name of supervisor(s):
Dr Kate Madden, School of Natural and Environmental Sciences. (https://bit.ly/3pETArb)

Eligibility Criteria:
You must have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 honours degree or equivalent, in chemistry, medicinal chemistry, or a related subject. Experience in synthetic organic chemistry is essential as the project will involve design and synthesis of bioactive molecules. Experience or an interest in cell biology is desirable.

The award is available to home applicants only.

How to apply:
You must apply through the University’s online postgraduate application system. (https://bit.ly/3fcFpoA)

All relevant fields should be completed, but fields marked with a red asterisk in the application portal must to be completed. The following information will help us to process your application.

You will need to:

• insert the programme code 8100F in the programme of study section
• select PhD Chemistry (Full time) the programme of study
• insert the studentship code NES037 in the studentship/partnership reference field
• attach a covering letter and CV. The covering letter must state the title of the studentship, quote reference code NES037 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.

Funding Notes

Full Home fees and annual living allowance of £15,285. Also additional funding to cover research costs.
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