Don't miss our weekly PhD newsletter | Sign up now Don't miss our weekly PhD newsletter | Sign up now

  Supercharging nature’s biochemical reactions for therapeutic and climate change applications

   Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute

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

Click here to search for PhD studentship opportunities
  Dr P Creixell  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

This is a unique opportunity for PhD study in the world-leading Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute (CRUK CI), to start a research career in an environment committed to training outstanding cancer research scientists of the future. The Institute has excellent state-of-the-art facilities and research ranges from basic biology and computational biology through to translational cancer research and clinical application.

Graduate students play a pivotal role in the continuing success of our research programmes. If you are interested in contributing to our success, please find further information at:

Dr Pau Creixell wishes to recruit a student to work on the project entitled: Supercharging nature’s biochemical reactions for therapeutic and climate change applications

For further information about the research group, including their most recent publications, please visit their website:

Project description:

Our lab integrates machine learning and high-throughput biochemistry to study how proteins selectively recognise their substrates, how this process is perturbed in cancer and how it can be hijacked to find highly selective and mutant-specific drugs to overcome drug resistance.

Our lab is particularly interested in studying the discovery, engineering, and development of super-enzymes. We are currently developing technology that allows the screening and computational interpretation of combinatorial complete libraries of mutant protein variants. We are now in a position to further develop and deploy these technologies to supercharge virtually any natural biochemical reaction in applications ranging from signaling and therapeutics to carbon capture and climate change. By benefitting from these novel technologies and initially identifying the best natural proteins for a given biochemical reaction, in this project we will be able to deeply screen for novel super-enzymes that enable new biological functionalities, and effectively exceed the functional properties of these natural enzymes.


As a relatively new lab, we are particularly interested in students who will be highly motivated and share our excitement for science. You should be independent while also capable of taking feedback and input from others. While we will consider candidates from all backgrounds, those with interests in biology and biochemistry, chemistry, physics and/or machine learning/artificial intelligence may have an advantage.


Please indicate that you wish to be considered for funding by answering ‘Yes – I wish to apply for funding’ on your application form. By ticking ‘yes’ you will be considered for a number of funds, including a Cancer Research UK studentship that includes full funding for University and College fees and in addition, a stipend currently of £21,000 per annum, initially for 3 years, with funding for a further year as required.

How to apply:

Please apply using the University Applicant Portal. For further information about the course and to access the applicant portal, go to:

Please select to commence study in Michaelmas term 2024 (October 2024).

To complete your on-line application, you need to provide the following:

Reference Request: The names and contact details of two academic referees who have agreed to act on your behalf.

Course Specific Question: Your statement of interest (limit of 2,500 characters) should explain why you wish to be considered for the studentship and which qualities and experience you will bring to the role. Please also state how you learned of the studentship.

Supporting Document: Please upload your CV (PDF file), which should include a list of the examinations taken at undergraduate level and if possible, your examination results


The closing date for applications is 13 November 2023 with interviews expected to take place in the week beginning 15 January 2024.

Biological Sciences (4) Chemistry (6) Computer Science (8)

Funding Notes

No nationality restrictions apply to Cancer Research UK funded studentships. Applications are invited from recent graduates or final year undergraduates who hold or expect to gain a first/upper second-class degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject from any recognised university worldwide. Applicants with relevant research experience, gained through Master’s study or while working in a laboratory, are strongly encouraged to apply.


Begley, M. et al. Nat. Struct. & Mol. Bio 22(12), 983–990 (2015).
Flamholz, A.I. et al., Elife (2020)
Prywes, N. et al., Annu. Rev. Biochem. 92, 385–410 (2023).
Hajredini, F. et al. J. Biol. Chem. 299, 102737 (2023).
Lite, T.V. et al., Elife (2020)
Li, A. et al., Elife (2023)
Shah, N. H. et al. Elife (2016) https://doi:10.7554/elife.20105
Wagner, H.J. et al. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 19, 3444 (2018).
Rangel, M.A. et al. Sci. Adv. (2022)
Baikie, T.K. et al. Nature 615, 836–840 (2023).
Zhang, J.Z. and Reisner, E. Nat. Rev. Chem. 4, 6–21 (2020).
Segev, G. et al., Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics 55, 323003 (2022).
Mou, Y. et al. JACS 140, 16615–16624 (2018).

How good is research at University of Cambridge in Clinical Medicine?

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

Click here to see the results for all UK universities
Search Suggestions
Search suggestions

Based on your current searches we recommend the following search filters.