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Photoactive metalloproteins for catalysis

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, June 19, 2020
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

Project: Artificial metalloenzymes (ArMs) are an exciting new class of catalysts with applications in chemical synthesis, biotechnology and beyond. Through a combination of chemical and biological design they are able to uniquely harness the benefits of both chemical and biological catalysis. This project will use genetic code expansion to incorporate unnatural amino acids into ArMs in living bacteria for applications in catalysis and biophysics. Specifically, the project will focus on introducing photoactive metal complexes into protein scaffolds and their novel chemistry – in particular enantioselective photocatalysis using visible light.

Further reading:
Reviews: I. Drienovská, G. Roelfes, Nat. Catal. 2020, 3, 193; F. Schwizer et al. Chem. Rev. 2018, 118, 142. Research articles: A.G. Jarvis et al. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2017, 56, 13596; M. V. Doble et al. ACS Sustainable Chem. Eng. 2018, 6 15100.

Training: The research will be interdisciplinary, allowing the student to gain experience in both cutting-edge chemical and biological techniques. The student will receive in-house training in in biochemical techniques (i.e. the growth, expression and purification of proteins, mutagenesis, cloning), structural biology and bioinorganic chemistry, and in the organic chemistry skills needed for catalytic testing. As part of their training, they will develop scientific communication and presentation skills through participation in regular group meetings, internal seminars and conferences. They will gain mentoring skills by supervising undergraduate project students. The Institute of Academic Development at the University of Edinburgh provides further professional development opportunities including mentoring and training for teaching and public engagement. Dr Jarvis has recently received a UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship which provides extensive consumable funding and has allowed the group to buy new equipment. The group is situated in a recently renovated laboratory within the world class facilities in the University of Edinburgh.

The candidate: The successful candidate will possess, or expect to obtain, a first class or upper-second class undergraduate degree (or equivalent) in chemistry or a related subject. Experience in homogeneous catalysis, synthetic chemistry and/or chemical biology is desirable. They should enjoy working as part of an interdisciplinary team, show an aptitude towards learning new techniques and be enthusiastic about working at the chemical/biological interface. Other essential attributes are good presentation and communication skills (written and oral).

How to apply: In the first instance, informal enquiries (accompanied by a CV and cover letter) should be directed to: Dr Amanda Jarvis, School of Chemistry, University of Edinburgh, David Brewster Road, Edinburgh EH9 3FJ, UK. Email: The deadline for applications is Friday 19th June 2020.

The School of Chemistry holds a Silver Athena SWAN award in recognition of our commitment to advance gender equality in higher education. The University is a member of the Race Equality Charter and is a Stonewall Scotland Diversity Champion, actively promoting LGBT equality. The University has a range of initiatives to support a family friendly working environment. See our University Initiatives website for further information. University Initiatives website:

Funding Notes

The studentship is fully funded for 42 months and covers tuition fees and an annual stipend (starting at £15,285 per annum).

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

FTE Category A staff submitted: 43.30

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

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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