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PhD studentship in Medicinal Chemistry - ‘Design, synthesis and target identification of novel anti-tubercular agents’

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  • Full or part time
    Dr J D Sellars
    Dr A K Brown
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Applications are invited from Graduates in Chemistry, Pharmacy and Medicinal Chemistry programs to join our group. The project encompasses the synthesis and biological screening of a novel group of new anti-bacterial agents for the treatment of Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

Antibiotics are the leading treatment for bacterial infections, with their discovery heralding the ability to cure previously untreatable infections. However, our reliance and overuse of antibiotics over the past few decades has resulted in the development of bacterial infections which no longer respond to these antibiotics, a situation termed multi-drug resistance (MDR). This MDR phenomenon has now led to a significant global problem and the re-emergence and increase of infectious diseases previously controlled by antibiotics.

One such infection is tuberculosis (TB), caused by the microorganism Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) caused illness in approximately 9.6 million people worldwide and resulted in 1.5 million deaths in 2014. Of concern is the fact that almost 13% of these deaths (approximately 190,000 people) are as a result of MDR tuberculosis, with an additional 3.3% of new cases identified as being resistant to current antibiotic treatment. Consequently, the WHO has now identified this as an urgent issue, suggesting we transit from a Stop TB to an End TB strategy. In order to achieve this objective the development of new treatment options for TB is a priority and of the upmost importance.

We have previously identified a series of novel chemical compounds with significant antibiotic activity, including exceptional activity and selectivity against Mycobacterium tuberculosis. These new drugs have the potential to treat MDR types of TB, and subsequently offer a new therapeutic option for management of this commonly fatal infectious disease. In this proposed project our objective is to further refine these compounds and develop a novel drug molecule with defined and selective activity against TB.

To achieve this we need to use a multidisciplinary approach, involving chemists, biologists and pharmacologists, and state-of-the-art techniques focused on evaluation of the genetic sequence and proteins involved in the mechanistic activity of these new drugs. Once we know how these drugs work and we have a series of drugs showing exquisite activity for the treatment of TB, the final phase of the project will be the development of a candidate drug for evaluation in the clinic against Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and consequently the treatment of drug-resistant TB.

Eligibility Criteria

You must have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 honours degree or international equivalent. A strong background in chemical synthesis, with a knowledge of microbiological techniques and protein purification being advantageous.

This award is available to UK/EU and international applicants. If English is not your first language, you must have IELTS 7 with at least 6.5 in the written component, or equivalent.

How to apply

Please apply through the University’s Postgraduate Application portal (http://www.ncl.ac.uk/postgraduate/apply/). Only mandatory fields need to be completed however, you will need to include the following information:

•insert the programme code 8300F in the programme of study section
•select ‘PhD in the Faculty of Medical Sciences – Pharmacy’ as the programme of study
•attach a covering letter and CV. The covering letter must state the title of the studentship, quote the reference code PH003 and state how your interests and experience relate to the project.

Funding Notes

Start Date: 2018

The funding will need to cover a 3 year PhD

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