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PhD in Chemistry - Protein structural mimics through chemical ligation

College of Science and Engineering

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Dr D Thomson No more applications being accepted

About the Project

This project targets the interface between chemistry and biology. Chemistry has provided many reactions that can be used to join complex molecules together, these ‘ligation’ reactions are useful, but often leave behind chemical functionality that serves no purpose other than to connect fragments together. The goal of this project is to find new chemical auxiliaries that can be used to link together fragments of a peptide/protein, but which in doing so form a mimic of part of the protein structure. We have already established a prototype of this method in developing new ligation mimics of beta turns. This is a novel concept that will allow us to create new hybrid structures, part biomolecule, part chemical, that exhibit new functions, as probes of biological systems. This project will build on our foregoing work, and expand to other types of turn and linkages. We will also begin to target biological activity e.g. through the development of novel agents to interfere with protein-protein interactions.

All of our research is highly multidisciplinary, and this project is no exception. This studentship will provide opportunities to learn a wide range of techniques such as organic synthesis, peptide synthesis, computational modelling, and biophysical analysis methods such as peptide/protein NMR and circular dichroism, to name but a few. Prior experience of these methods is not essential, however a willingness to learn new skills is vital. This project will provide ample support for a future career at the interface between chemistry and biology, whether in academia or elsewhere. The project will also encourage the student to think creatively about how to solve problems, and the student will have significant latitude to shape the direction of the project.

Applicants should have a good degree (2i or above) in chemistry, biochemistry or a related discipline, and be highly motivated to carry out research at the chemistry/biology interface. Good communication skills are essential. The candidate will be required to use and modify computer code, so a willingness to learn coding is essential. Research experience and a demonstrated ability to work independently will be considered an advantage.

If this project is of interest to you then please don’t hesitate get in touch- we are happy to discuss further, or answer any queries relating to eligibility.

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 UK/EU applicants for 3.5 years, as well as paying a stipend at the Research Council rate (estimated £15,245 for Session 2020-21).
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