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Screening of commercial and novel lipase enzymes towards the synthesis of bioactive carbohydrate fatty acid derivatives and for application in enantioselective synthesis

  • Full or part time
    Dr C Lennon
    Dr M Kinsella
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, April 26, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About This PhD Project

Project Description

Post summary

Applications are invited for suitably qualified candidates interested in pursuing a PhD by completing a multidisciplinary research project within the PMBRC at WIT in collaboration with the School of Food Science and Environmental Health at TU Dublin. This project will include aspects of organic synthesis, analytical characterisation, biochemistry and molecular biology generating a researcher with a broad set of skills highly relevant to the (Bio)Pharmaceutical Industry. The candidate will be enrolled on the WIT Structured PhD programme and during the project will complete a secondment at TU Dublin (DIT), which will allow them to gain experience and project required skills from subject matter experts in the fields of carbohydrate synthesis and molecular biology. This collaborative cross-institutional aspect will enhance the research experience of the candidate significantly.

Antimicrobial and antibiotic compounds are vital to human health and are widely used to cure infection. One major issue with the over-application of these compounds is the development of antibiotic resistance, and there exists a need for effective alternatives. Carbohydrate fatty acid esters offer great potential for application as biodegradable, non-toxic, antimicrobials. Carbohydrate-derivatives, which are most successful in this context, contain the ester functional group at a single point within their structure. This offers significant challenges due the presence of other completing reactive groups, which can generate mixtures of products during chemical preparation. Synthetic methods involve lengthy sequences with multiple reagents and purification steps. As an alternative, biocatalysis offers significant sustainable environmental and economic advantages, and fulfils many of the key principles of ‘green chemistry’, an area of growing interest to the fine chemical industry. An advantage of biocatalysts in synthesis is that they often possess excellent selectivity in reacting with and/or generating an isomer of product. In this project a series of biocatalysts will be applied to the synthesis of carbohydrate esters with the aim of achieving ester formation at the desired site in a single step. The products generated will be tested for antimicrobial activity.

Funding Notes

This is a 4 year full-time structured PhD programme

Stipend: €12,000 p/a
Fees: €4,500 p/a
Research costs: €2,000 p/a

For any informal queries, please contact Dr Claire Lennon, +353 51 834048

Application procedure

Please download the Research Postgraduate Application Form from the WIT Website and return completed applications to quoting WIT_PhD_2019_013 in the email subject line. Please note that paper submissions will not be accepted.

Any queries relating to the application process should be emailed to


For further information on this scholarship and how to apply, please visit View Website



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