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Synthesis of ultrapotent anticancer agents by solid phase methods (SEARCEYU17SF)

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  • Full or part time
    Prof M Searcey
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Many natural product anticancer agents are so potent that they cannot be used in the clinic due to unwanted side effects. In recent years, the conjugation of these compounds to antibodies that target the molecules to their site of action has led to clinically effective agents. Through a combination of solution and solid phase methods, we are developing routes to synthesise compounds with ultrapotent anticancer activity that can be incorporated into peptide structures for rapid attachment to antibodies (i). We are also developing novel approaches to conjugation methods and new prodrug analogues of the natural products (ii, iii). In this project, we will design new molecules with the potential to become therapeutic agents both through targeting and through the design of prodrugs. The project will be suitable for anyone with an interest in the application of organic synthesis to the development of therapeutic agents.

The project may be available at an earlier start date of 1 April or 1 July 2017 but should be discussed with the primary supervisor in the first instance.

Application deadline: 31 May 2017. NB Applications are processed as soon as they are received and the project may be filled before the closing date, so early application is encouraged.

Funding Notes

This PhD project is offered on a self-funding basis. It is open to applicants with funding or those applying to funding sources. Details of tuition fees can be found at

A bench fee is also payable on top of the tuition fee to cover specialist equipment or laboratory costs required for the research. The amount charged annually will vary considerably depending on the nature of the project and applicants should contact the primary supervisor for further information about the fee associated with the project.


i) J. Org. Chem. 2015, doi 10.1021/acs.joc.5b01373
ii) J. Med. Chem. 2013, 56, 6273-6277
iii) MedChemComm 2015, 6, 187-191

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