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PhD in the Biosynthesis and Enzymology of Fluorine Containing Metabolites in Streptomyces Bacteria

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Research in the O’Hagan group has had a focus on the biosynthesis of fluorine containing natural products and the identification of a fluorination enzyme, ‘the fluorinase’, from Streptomyces cattleya.[1] Fluorine is very rare in nature, and in those rare cases where an organism can form a C-F bond from fluoride ion, then the enzymology is unique and interesting. This can be contrasted with the very wide use of fluorine in the chemical, pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals industries. Such fluorination requires toxic chemicals and reagents. Thus a biocatalysis to generate organofluorine compounds is very attractive but the enzymes are rare and still being discovered. We have been using the fluorinase as a catalyst to incorporate the isotope fluorine-18 into bioactive tracers for use in clinical imaging.[2-4] We are also interested in identifying other fluorination enzymes by gene mining and/or the deconstruction of other fluorometabolite producing Streptomyces such as S. calvus.

This Ph.D is in the area of chemical-biology and candidates with a Masters or equivalent in Chemistry but an interest in enzyme chemistry; or a Masters or equivalent in microbial biochemistry/genetics and an interest in metabolism, would be most welcome to apply.

Contact Professor David O’Hagan E.mail: [email protected] for more information

Related Subjects
Chemical Biology, Organic chemistry, Enzymology, Antibiotics

Funding Notes

Full funding for EU or UK students is available.


[1] C. Dong, F. Lu Huang, H. Deng, C. Schaffrath, J. B. Spencer, D. O’Hagan, J. H. Naismith, Nature, 2004, 427, 561 - 565.
[2] S. Thompson, Q. Zhang, M. Onega, S. McMahon, I. Fleming, S. Ashworth, J. H. Naismith, J. Passchier, D. O’Hagan, Angew. Chemie. Int. Ed, 2014, 53, 8913-8918;
[3] P. T. Lowe, S. Dall'Angelo, T. Mulder-Krieger, A. P. IJzerman, M. Zanda, D. O'Hagan,
ChemBioChem., 2017, 18, 2156 – 2164.
[4] P. T. Lowe, S. Dall'Angelo, A. Devine, M. Zanda, D. O'Hagan, ChemBioChem, 2018, 19, 1969-1978.

Related Subjects

How good is research at University of St Andrews in Chemistry?
(joint submission with University of Edinburgh)

FTE Category A staff submitted: 37.30

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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