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Synthetic Organic Chemistry in situ: Developing Bioorthogonal Chemical Reactions

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

The project will involve the design and multi-step synthesis of small molecules or polymers using synthetic chemistry techniques such as anhydrous reaction conditions, column chromatography, HPLC purification, NMR, MS and IR characterisation. A research background in synthetic organic chemistry or medicinal chemistry is essential. Full training in advanced synthetic chemistry techniques and cell biology will be provided throughout the project.

The candidate will work in the area of synthetic organic chemistry, and bioorthogonal chemistry. The goal of the research is to gain greater control and faster activation rates of bioorthogonal chemical reactions used for drug delivery. Design, synthesis, activation and biological evaluation of prodrugs, nanoparticles and imaging probes would be investigated.

The work will be based in the School of Pharmacy at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand (

The expected candidate will hold a BSc (Hons) or MSc in organic or medicinal chemistry, with significant practical organic chemistry experience, and will be enthusiastic and passionate about research.

To apply: Please contact Dr Allan Gamble () to explain your interest in this project and how this relates to your previous experience. Please include a copy of your CV, academic transcript, and the names of three referees.

Funding Notes

The applicant must be eligible for admission to the PhD programme at the University of Otago, and apply and be awarded a University of Otago doctoral scholarship. The applicant should have a Masters in Science (Chemistry major) with a GPA of 8.0 or greater (on a 9 point scale) or equivalent. The PhD scholarship provides tuition fees and a tax-free personal allowance of NZD$25,000/year for a total of three years. International candidates receive the same package as New Zealand residents provided they reside in New Zealand for the duration of the project and study under a New Zealand student visa.


1. Matikonda, S. S.; Orsi, D. L.; Staudacher, V.; Jenkins, I. A.; Fiedler, F.; Chen, J.; Gamble, A. B. Bioorthogonal prodrug activation driven by a 1,3-dipolar cycloaddition. Chem. Sci. 2015, 6, 1212-1218.
2. Matikonda, S. S; Fairhall, J. M.; Fiedler, F.; Sanhajariya, S.; Tucker, R. A. J.; Hook, S.; Garden, A. L.; Gamble, A. B. Bioconjugate Chem. 2018, 29, 324-334.
3. Matikonda, S. S.; Fairhall, J. M.; Tyndall, J. D. A.; Hook, S.; Gamble, A. B. Stability, Kinetic, and Mechanistic Investigation of 1,8-Self-Immolative Cinnamyl Ether Spacers for Controlled Release of Phenols and Generation of Resonance and Inductively Stabilized Methides. Org. Lett. 2017, 19, 528-531

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