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  Shape-selective guest binding in metal-organic cages

   School of Chemistry

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  Dr Jamie Lewis  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

A PhD studentship is available in the group of Dr Jamie Lewis (University of Birmingham) in the area of synthetic supramolecular chemistry on the development of low-symmetry metal-organic cages and their host-guest chemistry.

Project Outline

Metal-organic cages (MOCs) are a class of supramolecular host molecules, assembled from metal ions and organic ligands. MOCs have been shown to bind a variety of small molecules, including reactive species, therapeutics and pollutants. Guest binding within MOCs, however, is known to be fairly promiscuous. Lower symmetry MOCs could provide a route to more selective guest binding through shape-matching with the host.

Our group has an ongoing interest in the development of design principles to target reduced symmetry MOCs.[1-3] This project will focus on the fundamental development of low-symmetry MOCs, examining their host-guest chemistry, and investigating potential applications of such shape-selective interactions in molecular separations and catalysis.


The project will require a combination of organic and inorganic chemical synthesis, and use of various analytical techniques (NMR, mass spectrometry, single-crystal X-ray diffractometry) for which training will be given. The work will be carried out under the supervision of Dr Lewis in the School of Chemistry.

The University of Birmingham

The University of Birmingham was founded in 1900 on an anti-discrimination ethos accepting men and women on an equal basis. Today, as a community of over 150 nationalities in one of the UK’s most vibrant cities, we remain committed to promoting equality, diversity and fairness irrespective of age, disability, gender, pregnancy or marital status, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation or gender identity.

Candidate Details

The candidate must be an enthusiastic individual with an interest in synthetic and supramolecular chemistry, and should normally have, or expect to receive, a first or upper second (2.1) class Masters degree (or equivalent) in a chemical science subject.

Applications should be made through the University of Birmingham’s online applications system. Please include a copy of your CV and a cover letter outlining your research interests and previous experience. For informal enquiries please contact Dr Jamie Lewis ([Email Address Removed]). For more information on our group's research interests, please visit

Chemistry (6)

Funding Notes

Please note that, due to funding restrictions, only those eligible for UK home fees status may apply. Funding is for 42 months with an annual tax-free stipend of £17,668.


[1] Chem. Sci., 2020, 11, 677.
[2] Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2021, 60, 20879.
[3] Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2022, 61, e202212392.

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