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Organic Synthesis for the treatment of CNS disorders

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, February 28, 2020
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

This PhD project is open to prospective students graduated or going to graduate with a First Class Honours or Masters Degree (or equivalent) in chemistry and an interest application driven organic synthesis. The focus will be on developing new molecules for the treatment of diseases of the central nervous system.

Numerous psychiatric and neurological disorders are underpinned by asocial symptoms, such as social withdrawal and impaired social cognition. These include depression, schizophrenia, autism spectrum disorder, behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and social anxiety disorder which is frequently co-morbid with, and precedes the onset of, several mental health conditions. Over three million Australians suffer from these disorders, which cost society over $66 billion per year. Asocial symptoms significantly underpin the burden of these disorders by reducing employability, social support and quality of life. Despite this, there are no effective pharmacotherapies for the social symptoms of these conditions. It is a key focus of the research group to develop small organic molecules for the treatment of asocial symptoms targeting novel receptors in the central nervous system.

This project will involve small organic molecule synthesis, purification and analysis, and biological testing by national and international collaborators. PhD students will develop skills in a range of experimental techniques, including organic synthesis, purification, NMR spectroscopy and mass spectrometry and the evaluation of biological data. During this program students will advance their scientific writing, reading and oral presentation skills. Experience of experimental synthetic chemistry would be advantageous, although training will be provided. You should be capable of working under your own initiative and working within a small research team, so excellent communication, organisational and teamwork skills are also required.

This project is based in state-of-the-art laboratories at the ANU Research School of Chemistry in Canberra, Australia. ANU is ranked number 29 in the world and number one university in Australia (QS world rankings 2020). Canberra regularly ranks amongst the best cities in the world for quality of life, and was selected as the number three city to visit worldwide by Lonely Planet in 2018.

ANU values diversity and inclusion, and we welcome applicants from all backgrounds and identities.

Funding Notes

We are offering a PhD scholarship in the field of organic medicinal chemistry at the Australian National University (ANU), based in Canberra, Australia. For the successful applicant, the scholarship fully covers the university fees and research expenses, and provides additional allowance to cover living costs for up to 3 years with an additional 6 months available upon application:
- PhD stipend: AUD $28,092 per year (tax-free)
- Conference allowance and computer fund: AUD $3,000 during PhD


If you meet the HDR admission requirements (self-assessment on please send an e-mail directly to Dr Tristan Reekie ([email protected]) with following information:
- Email subject: Prospective PhD for Organic Medicinal Chemistry
- Email body: please provide:
- Your academic & research background, experiences, and research interests.
- When you expect to start your PhD if successful.
- Attachments: CV and academic transcript

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