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Photocleavable small molecule fluorescent zinc probes

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

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  • Full or part time
    Prof M Watkinson
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Zinc is the second most abundant d-block metal in humans. Whilst most zinc exists in bound forms, there exists a pool of mobile zinc whose concentration varies widely; fluctuations in its levels are associated with a number of important disease states, although it is unclear whether this is causal or symptomatic, in most cases. There is thus a drive to better understand the role of mobile zinc in these diseases and small molecule switch-on fluorescent probes are widely used tools to this effect, however, current probes are not without limitations. In this project novel probes capable of targeting specific cellular organelles which can be photochemically activated in real time will be developed to enable a better understanding of the role of zinc to be established.

This project blends synthetic chemistry with photochemistry and cell biology. The successful student will be trained in a broad range of cutting-edge synthetic and analytical methods and will also be trained in basic cell culture and microscopy techniques. These will be performed both in-house and through national and international collaborations.

Studenthship available from: September 2019 (flexible)

For informal enquiries please contact Prof M Watkinson [Email Address Removed]

Please quote FNS GS 2019-01 on your application.

Keele University values diversity, and is committed to ensuring equality of opportunity. In support of these commitments, Keele University particularly welcomes applications from women and from individuals of black and ethnic minority backgrounds for this post. The School of Chemical and Physical Sciences and Keele University have both been awarded Athena Swan awards and Keele University is a member of the Disability Confident scheme. More information is available on these web pages:

Funding Notes

Funding support is provided as follows:
100% UK/EU tuition fees for 3 years commencing academic year 2019/2020. Stipend support for three years at Research Council rates (2019/0 £15,009 per annum)
Source of funding: School of Chemical and Physical Sciences, Keele University

UK & EU citizens are eligible for full funding.


see also: Cell Metabolism, 2016, 24, 389; Chem. Eur. J., 2017, 23, 13067 and Angew. Chem., Int. Ed. Engl., 2018, 57, 5310 for recent work.

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