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

College of Science and Engineering

Applications accepted all year round Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)
Glasgow United Kingdom Organic Chemistry Synthetic Chemistry

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 the design and synthesis of novel peptide loops and hairpins, which will be combined, using aqueous dynamic covalent ligation, with transition metal coordination units prepared by a second PhD student (https://www.findaphd.com/phds/project/phd-in-chemistry-metal-templated-self-assembly-of-peptide-based-knots-and-catenanes/?p128061) 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 an interest in biomolecules and organic synthesis. The student will become an expert in the design, synthesis and analysis of peptides and interlocked molecules, through hands on experience of solid phase peptide synthesis, computational peptide design, solution-based analytical techniques such as NMR and CD spectroscopies and mass spectrometry. The interdisciplinary nature of the project will also mean the student will gain experience in supramolecular self-assembly and X-ray crystallography while working as part of a larger team.

Prospective candidates should contact Dr Drew Thomson for information by email – – 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:


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)

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