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Property based design of mitochondria targeted molecules


Faculty of Medical Sciences Graduate School

About the Project

Applications are invited from Graduates in Chemistry, Pharmacy and Medicinal Chemistry Master’s level programs to join our group within the Faculty of Medical Sciences looking at novel approaches to the design of the next generation of mitochondria targeted therapeutic agents. Mitochondria are key organelles that perform essential cellular functions and play pivotal roles in cell death and survival signalling. Hence, they represent an attractive target for drugs to treat metabolic, degenerative, and hyperproliferative diseases. Targeting mitochondria with organelle-specific agents or prodrugs has proven to be an effective therapeutic strategy. More specifically, controlling the cellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) balance via selective delivery of an antioxidant ‘‘payload’’ into mito-chondria is an elegant emerging therapeutic concept. Mitochondrial dysfunction triggers the cell death signalling cascade and results in organ failure and disease. Therapeutic intervention at the mitochondrial level can be imagined for general cell-degenerative as well as hyper-proliferative diseases, i.e., cancers.
Our approach to the treatment of mitochondrial dysfunction is to target the discovery of chemical entities of structural types unknown to metabolic, degenerative, and hyperproliferative diseases. We operate a medicinal chemistry platform based upon Property (parameter) based Fragment Design principals. At a practical level, this strategy is supported by novel chemical flow and microwave technologies allowing us to utilize novel chemical approaches and maximize our efficiency of chemical target synthesis. The strength of this approach is enhanced by a strong multidisciplinary interaction with cell biology, pharmacology and pharmaceutics capabilities within the School of Pharmacy and established collaborations with internal and mitochondrial disease external experts.
This Graduate position will lead to a Ph.D. and allow the successful applicant to acquire and develop their laboratory skills in both microwave and flow chemistry, undertaking the synthesis of novel chemical entities targeted at mitochondrial dysfunction. In addition, the successful applicant will be expected to develop their skills in computer aided rationale design techniques directed towards the rational design of a new generation of mitochondrial therapeutic agents.
Successful candidates will benefit from full technological and academic support from the Medicinal Chemistry Group within School of Pharmacy. They will be encouraged to actively participate in the national and international conferences on mitochondrial disease and also gain training and support by being an active member of the School of Pharmacy and Biosciences Institute. Moreover, during the course of this training, with a support from the University, candidates will develop professional skills (leadership, time management etc.) that will strengthen their future career progression both within and outside the academia.
Applicant should hold or expect to hold a 2:1 or 1st class degree.

If you are interested in applying, send your CV and covering letter detailing your reasons for applying for this studentship to Postgraduate Student Coordinator at School of Pharmacy at

Funding Notes

Applications accepted all year round. The successful candidate will be expected to provide full funding for Tuition Fees, living expenses and maintenance. Applicants should also be aware that additional research costs are required (in addition to the above Tuition Fees and Living Expenses) for project running and consumables. Details of the full cost of study can be found on our website: View Website. There is no additional funding attached to this project.

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