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Supramolecular sensors for neurotransmitters

   School of Chemistry

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  Dr T A Barendt  Applications accepted all year round  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Neurological diseases are a leading cause of disability worldwide. Neurotransmitters (e.g. dopamine) are key molecules in neuronal communication, making their detection and quantification vital for medical diagnostics and therapeutics. A current challenge is to identify the type of neurotransmitter released by a cell. This PhD project will use macrocyclic and supramolecular chemistry to differentiate between neurotransmitters with similar molecular structures. Therefore, the aim of this project is to develop macrocycle sensors capable of the strong and selective binding of neurotransmitters. The researcher will develop skills in molecular synthesis, supramolecular chemistry and a variety of industry-standard analytical techniques (NMR, mass spectrometry, isothermal titration calorimetry), including photophysics and electrochemistry. Since this is an interdisciplinary project, the candidate will also receive training in cell fluorescence microscopy and the potential to travel to conduct further biological studies. The candidate will be supervised, supported and mentored by Dr Tim Barendt at the University of Birmingham. They will join his dynamic and friendly research group in the School of Chemistry: Candidates should be creative, curious and motivated, with an interest in supramolecular chemistry, although no formal experience is required. The project is open to both UK and international (including EU) students. By the start of their appointment, applicants should have obtained a strong Master's degree in Chemistry and not be in possession of a PhD. To apply, please contact Tim using the details below. Also, please do not hesitate to get in touch with Tim for more information. The School of Chemistry is keen to achieve a gender and diversity balance across the School and welcome applicants from all backgrounds. The School holds an Athena SWAN Bronze Award, which recognises its work in promoting women’s careers in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine in higher education. 

Funding Notes

This project is competition funded in full (fees, stipend, travel) via the Midlands Integrative Biosciences Training Partnership: ,


For previous work on our supramolecular sensors, please see: J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2017, 139, 9026-9037 ( and J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2018, 140, 1924-1936 (

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