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  PhD Position in Synthetic Chemistry and Developing Lectin Ligands

   School of Biological and Chemical Sciences

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  Prof Paul Murphy  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Applications are invited from suitably qualified candidates for a PhD position in the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences.   This position will be funded by Science Foundation Ireland and is available from September 1, 2024, for 4 years. The successful candidate will work under the direction of Professor Paul Murphy.

Project Description:

The successful candidate will work on a project concerned with the design and synthesis of new monomeric and multivalent molecules based on tetraphenylethene and related ligands for evaluation against lectin targets (e.g. siglec-8, MGL-1, influenza, galectins). The project will involve producing desired compounds and purifying them to a high level. The PhD student will be interested in synthetic organic chemistry and be interested also in studying the properties of the substances generated.  For preliminary work in this area see  


  • Primarily the student will be involved in design and synthesis of scaffolds for generating ligands for lectins (e.g. siglec-8, MGL-1, influenza hemagglutinin, galectins). 
  • PhD students normally enter the Chemistry structured PhD programme. Students will be required to take relevant courses, including in research ethics, health and safety etc.
  • The successful candidate will contribute to the running of the supervisor’s laboratory and be involved in outreach/education and public engagement and contribute to efforts to attain/sustain green laboratory certification.

Qualifications/Skills required:

  • Normally an MSc completed in synthetic organic chemistry before commencing. A BSc graduate of Chemistry may be recruited if they have demonstrated excellent academic performance and who have an interest in organic synthesis and relevant analytical techniques applied to bioactive molecule development. They should display knowledge of techniques used for structure determination (e.g. NMR spectroscopy) and synthetic chemistry.
  • The successful candidate will have an interest in carbohydrate chemistry, medicinal chemistry as well as being willing to carry out measurements with new compounds.
  • It will be an advantage to have an interest in computational methods and 3D structure as applied in bioorganic/medicinal chemistry. 
  • There may be the opportunity to carry out a short placement at an international laboratory (siglec-8/MGL) and/or at the University of Galway with Professor Helen Blanchard (galectins) to perform relevant assays with ligands synthesised.
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills, including good writing skills, are required as is the ability to work well within a team. 
  • Candidates will have excellent communication and organizational skills; be highly motivated and passionate about synthetic chemistry applied to medicinal/bioorganic chemistry; and have strong documentation, oral and interpersonal skills.

Scholarship: €22,000 per annum with an additional maximum contribution of €5,500 towards fees/levies as per SFI awards. There are also some funds available for attending a relevant conference to present results from the research work and for the purchase of a computer to be used during the PhD research study.

Start date: Sept 1 2024.

To Apply:

Preliminary applications can be made by email as soon as possible and must be sent to and must contain ‘2024 PhD studentship’ in the subject line.

In your application please include

  1. A personal statement including your motivation for applying for this PhD student position
  2. A pdf copy of one example of your own independent written research work (e.g. BSc thesis, MSc thesis) in Chemistry or related topic
  3. A full CV including the contact details of two referees. Include the list of any awards and evidence of excellent academic performance to date. Please detail any experience in synthetic chemistry.
Chemistry (6)

 About the Project