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Systematic discovery of functional allostery for next generation chemical modulators

   Institute of Chemical Biology

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  Dr M Child, Dr S N Yaliraki, Prof E Tate, Dr L Walport  Applications accepted all year round  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

This project is sponsored by the Institute of Chemical Biology EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training


Dr Matthew Child (Department of Life Sciences, ICL)

Professor Sophia Yaliraki (Department of Chemistry, ICL)

Professor Ed Tate (Department of Chemistry, ICL & Francis Crick Institute)

Dr Louise Walport (Department of Chemistry, ICL & Francis Crick Institute)


Allosteric sites provide a fundamentally important mechanism for regulation of protein function, whereby molecular interactions at a remote allosteric site trigger changes in activity at the primary site of protein function - for example an enzyme active site or protein interaction interface. They are highly sought after as sites for selective and unique drug discovery as they are generally less highly conserved across families than the primary site and offer a powerful mechanism to influence otherwise undruggable active sites. A general approach for de novo identification and validation of druggable allosteric molecular pathways would offer gamechanging potential for drug discovery against currently intractable targets across all areas of disease.

In this project you will integrate a suite of emerging computational and experimental technologies from our labs to establish the first high-throughput platform for universal discovery, validation, and targeting of functional allosteric sites across the proteome. You will demonstrate proof of concept for your multidisciplinary approach through generation of the first allosteric modulators of human protein translation, deepening our understanding of the rules of life governing functional allostery, as well as underpinning new approaches to anticancer and antiviral therapeutics.

Working across our labs, you will learn and apply new skills and technologies including covalent ligand screening and medicinal chemistry optimisation, in silico modelling and machine learning, CRISPR-Cas gene editing, and molecular cell biology. This project would therefore ideally suit a student with research experience in medicinal chemistry or chemical biology and the ambition to integrate expertise across these areas to create a new drug discovery paradigm.

Prompt applications are strongly encouraged, candidates will be shortlisted for interview by mid-February 2023 


The entry requirement is a degree in the physical sciences with a minimum 2.1 or above (or equivalent).

Chemistry, physics, mathematics and engineering graduates who wish to learn how to apply their physical sciences skills to biological problems. Students from biological or medicinal backgrounds are usually not eligible. If in doubt, please contact us

We are only able to accept candidates with both ‘Home’ fee status applicants for this project. Please see our Eligibility Criteria webpage for more detailed information.

About the ICB CDT

Successful applicants to this project will be part of 2023 entry cohort of the EPSRC CDT in Chemical Biology: Innovation for the Life Sciences. The aim of the ICB CDT, one of the longest standing CDTs in the UK, is to train students in the art of multidisciplinary Chemical Biology research, giving them the exciting opportunity to develop the next generation of molecular tools and technologies for making, measuring, modelling and manipulating molecular interactions in biological systems.

Applicants to this programme will enrol on a 1 year MRes in Chemical Biology and Bioentrepreneurship, followed by a 3 year PhD, building on the research project from the MRes. For further information, please see our studentship webpages.

Successful applicants, both Home and International, will be awarded a fully funded studentship. This includes:

  • Annual National Minimum Doctoral Stipend, currently £17,668 + £2000 London allowance for 2022/23
  • Annual Tuition fees at either the Home or Overseas fee rate for both the MRes and PhD years
  • A Research Training Support Grant for laboratory consumable costs of £3,500 per year
  • Funding to attend conferences
  • Transferable skills training

How to apply

To apply for this project, please submit an application on the Imperial College Gateway (please see our How to Apply page for more detailed guidance).

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