Pan-cellular Raman active probes to monitor macroscopic properties in live cells

   Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry

   Applications accepted all year round  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

This project is based at the chemistry biology interface, using your skills in synthetic chemistry to prepare compounds that are able to answer important biological questions. The PhD will involve the design, synthesis and evaluation of small molecules that are able to enter a cell, target a specific organelle inside that cell and then report back on properties inside this organelle. On development we will use these molecules to understand and develop treatments for specific diseases of interest such as cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.

Technically, we will develop pan-cellular Raman active sensors and use spectral phasor analysis to monitor macroscopic properties in a spatiotemporal manner within different regions of live cells. We will design, synthesize, and monitor small molecules that are able to report on different cellular properties and use informatics to process and interpret the imaging data generated. On development these sensors will be used to monitor changes in response to external stimuli associated with disease.

This 48-month project will involve working as part of a team of synthetic chemists and chemical biologists using small molecules to interrogate mechanistic biological hypotheses.

The project will also involve a 3-month industrial placement at GlaxoSmithKline, Stevenage working within their chemical biology team.

Chemistry (6)

Funding Notes

Applications from students with experience in synthetic chemistry are encouraged.
Exceptional European and Worldwide applicants may be eligible for this funding through an overseas fee waiver.


Expanding the Range of Bio-orthogonal Tags for Multiplex Stimulated Raman Scattering Microscopy. Murphy, N.; Tipping, William J.; Braddick, Henry J.; Wilson, Liam T.; Tomkinson, Nicholas C. O.; Faulds, Karen; Graham, Duncan Angewandte Chem. 2023 e202311530.
Determination of Intracellular Esterase Activity using Ratiometric Raman Sensing and Spectral Phasor Analysis. Braddick, Henry; Tipping, William J.; Wilson, Liam T.; Jaconelli, Harry; Grant, Emma K.; Faulds, Karen; Graham, Duncan; Tomkinson, Nicholas C. O. Anal. Chem. 2023, 95, 5369–5376.
Stimulated Raman scattering microscopy with spectral phasor analysis: applications in assessing drug-cell interactions. Tipping, William, J.; Wilson, Liam T.; An, Connie; Leventi, Aristea A.; Wark, Alastair W.; Wetherill, Corina, Tomkinson, Nicholas C. O.; Faulds, Karen, Graham, Duncan. Chem. Sci. 2022, 13, 3468–3476.
Mitokyne: A Ratiometric Raman Probe for Mitochondrial pH. Wilson, Liam T.; Tipping, William J.; Wetherill, Corinna; Henley, Zoë; Faulds, Karen; Graham, Duncan; Mackay, Simon P.; Tomkinson, Nicholas C. O. Anal. Chem. 2021, 93, 12786–12792.

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