PhD in Chemistry - A close look at redox signalling from mitochondria using small molecule chemistry
We used to believe that the reactive oxygen species (ROS) produced by mitochondria were always damaging. Mitochondria are indeed a major source of ROS. It is also true that oxidative stress greatly contributes to serious health conditions: cancer, cardiovascular disease, heart failure, stroke and neurodegeneration. However, supplementing diet with antioxidants does not seem to help, unless you are deficient in these nutrients. We are beginning to understand that this is because ROS are part of a complex signalling system that ensures healthy functioning of cells. Malfunctioning of this redox signalling network causes the serious health problems. However, we do not yet know how this system works and so cannot correct it when it goes wrong.
We hypothesise that it matters where, when and how ROS are generated. The exact location is critical, right down to which side of which membrane in which organelle. For this reason, we will design and use organic synthesis to make novel small-molecule probes that attach themselves to very specific sites in and around the mitochondria and report the signalling events.
The research will involve molecular design with consideration of reactivity and physicochemical properties, multi-step organic synthesis including the handling of moisture and air-sensitive compounds, chemical characterisation of new compounds (NMR, MS, IR, UV-Vis, fluorescence) and validation of probes in vitro, in isolated mitochondria and in cells.
Eligibility: See EPSRC conditions https://epsrc.ukri.org/skills/students/guidance-on-epsrc-studentships/eligibility/
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How to Apply: Please refer to the following website for details on how to apply:
Funding is available to cover tuition fees for UK applicants for 3.5 years, as well as paying a stipend at the Research Council rate (estimated £15,009 for Session 2019-20). Normally, to be eligible for a full award a student must have no restrictions on how long they can stay in the UK and have been ordinarily resident in the UK for at least 3 years prior to the start of the studentship (see EPSRC eligibility requirements). Truly exceptional international candidates will also be considered in line with EPSRC limited relaxation of eligibility requirements.