PhD in Chemistry – Metal-Templated Self-Assembly of Peptide-Based Knots and Catenanes

   College of Science and Engineering

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

About the Project

Bright, highly motivated candidates are invited to apply for a fully funded 3.5 year PhD position in the School of Chemistry, available to commence on 1st October 2021 as part of a collaboration between the Forgan and Thomson research groups at the University of Glasgow.

The PhD will be part of a Leverhulme Trust project titled “Chiral Induction and Self-Sorting in Peptide Knots and Catenanes”, which is centred on the use of dynamic covalent chemistry, metal templation, and well-defined peptide loop sequences to self-assemble interlocked molecules. The PhD will focus on combining transition metal templated self-assembly with aqueous dynamic covalent ligation, working to integrate this chemistry with novel peptide loop sequences prepared by a second PhD student ( to form interlocked knots and catenanes. Transfer of chirality from peptide sequence / conformation to metal complexes and topologically chiral interlocked architectures will be examined in the solution and solid states by spectroscopy and diffraction

The ideal candidate will hold (or expect to hold) a 1st or upper 2nd class MSc / MChem / BSc or equivalent, and have experience of supramolecular chemistry, inorganic and/or organic synthesis, and analytical techniques in the solution and solid states. The student can expect to become an expert in the design, synthesis and analysis of metal complexes and interlocked molecules, through hands on experience of supramolecular self-assembly, solution-based analytical techniques such as NMR, UV/Vis, and CD spectroscopies, mass spectrometry and X-ray crystallography. The interdisciplinary nature of the project will also mean the student will gain experience in computational peptide design, peptide synthesis (manual and automated) and conformational analysis while working as part of a larger team.

More information on the Forgan group can be found at:

Prospective candidates should contact Prof Forgan for information by email – [Email Address Removed] – with a CV and cover letter, as soon as possible.

It is the University of Glasgow’s mission to foster an inclusive climate, which ensures equality in our working, learning, research and teaching environment.

We strongly endorse the principles of Athena SWAN, including a supportive and flexible working environment, with commitment from all levels of the organisation in promoting gender equality.

As an Athena SWAN Bronze Award holder, the School of Chemistry has equality, diversity and inclusion at its heart, and actively supports applications from all sections of society.

More details of the School’s Athena SWAN activities can be found here:

How to Apply: Please refer to the following website for details on how to apply:

Biological Sciences (4) Chemistry (6) Engineering (12)

Funding Notes

Funding is available to cover tuition fees for home/UK applicants for 3.5 years, as well as paying a stipend at the Research Council rate (estimated £15,560 for Session 2021-22)..