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Synthesis and Evaluation of Novel Catechol O-Methyl Transferase Inhibitors (Ref: SF20/APP/TETARD1)

Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

About the Project

Catechol O-Methyl Transferase (COMT) Inhibitors are used as a treatment for Parkinson’s Disease and other neurological disorders but they suffer from significant drawbacks, including toxicity(1,2). A new generation of systemic and CNS active inhibitors has been designed in our laboratory that could become an alternative to the currently used compounds. These compounds are expected to have a better inhibition of COMT than current nitrocatechol-based compounds (binding of Mg2+) but without the toxicity and pro-oxidant effect associated with the nitrocatechol group.

In this project, the PhD candidate will:
a) synthesise a range of molecules and their control compounds belonging to this novel class of potential COMT inhibitors,
b) Screen the synthesised compounds for their ability to act as COMT inhibitors.

The candidate is expected to be a synthetic organic chemist with a strong knowledge of biochemistry and willing to learn cellular biology.

Eligibility and How to Apply:
Please note eligibility requirement:
• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
• Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see

Please note: Applications should include a covering letter that includes a short summary (500 words max.) of a relevant piece of research that you have previously completed and the reasons you consider yourself suited to the project. Applications that do not include the advert reference (e.g. SF20/…) will not be considered.

Deadline for applications: 1st July for October start, or 1st December for March start
Start Date: October or March

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality.

Please direct enquiries to Dr David Tetard ()

Funding Notes

Please note, this is a self-funded project and does not include tuition fees or stipend; the studentship is available to Students Worldwide. Fee bands are available at View Website . A relevant fee band will be discussed at interview based on project running costs.


1- L. E. Kiss, P. Soares-da-Silva, J. Med. Chem., 2014, 57, 8692

2- N. Jatana, N. Apoorva, S. Malik, A. Sharma, N. Latha, CNS Agents med. Chem., 2013, 13, 166

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