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PhD in physicochemical characterisation of oligonucleotides for therapeutic formulations

   School of Pharmacy

This project is no longer listed on and may not be available.

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  Dr Mischa Zelzer, Dr S Stolnik  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

A fully funded PhD position in the area of physicochemical characterisation of oligonucleotides (RNA, DNA) offered in partnership between the University of Nottingham and AstraZeneca is currently available.


We are looking for candidates who

·        are enthusiastic and talented researchers

·        hold a degree in a Natural Sciences related area such as Chemistry, Physics, Pharmacy, Pharmacology and Biochemistry by September 2022

·        have an interest to develop skills in physicochemical characterisation of biomolecules

·        are willing and able to work across the academic and industrial sector

Project outline. While oligonucleotides are promising therapeutics, their formulation is challenging because of their considerable and unpredictable viscosity at higher concentrations which is an obstacle to delivery by injection. Using a range of physicochemical analysis tools to study inter- and intramolecular interactions, this project aims to generate fundamental understanding of how oligonucleotide viscosity is related to their physicochemical properties and apply this knowledge to control oligonucleotide formulation viscosity, enabling delivery of these promising compounds as injectable medicines.

What we offer. The successful candidate will take up fully funded (fees and standard stipend) EPSRC iCASE PhD project for 4 years to join a well-equipped, dynamic and vibrant research community at the number one School of Pharmacy in the UK and second globally (ranked 5th in the subject ‘Pharmacy and Pharmacology’ in the 2021 QS World Rankings). The University of Nottingham has excellent training provisions through its Research Academy, centralised facility hubs such as the Nanoscale and Microscale Research Centre (NMRC) and a very supportive postgraduate researcher community. The student will benefit from a very close collaboration with AstraZeneca, a globally leading pharmaceutical company, which will provide unique industrial experience and perspective for training and research progression, including the possibility for visits and research to be conducted at the company site.

Eligibility. The position is available to candidates who have (or expect to achieve before the start of the project) a first or 2.1 degree in a Natural Sciences related area, including but not limited to Chemistry, Physics, Pharmacy, Pharmacology and Biochemistry. Furthermore, the candidate must be eligible for ‘UK home fee status’. Further information on fee status can be found here:

How to apply. Applications should be submitted by email to Dr Mischa Zelzer ([Email Address Removed]). The application deadline is 28th Feb 2022. Informal enquiries should be directed to the academic project lead, Dr Mischa Zelzer ([Email Address Removed]).

Interviews are expected to be held in mid March 2021. The expected start date of the PhD study is 1st October 2021.

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