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Understanding sensitisation by platinum group metal compounds

   School of Chemistry

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  Prof JB Love, Prof C Morrison  Applications accepted all year round  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Project Summary

Why are some PGM complexes respiratory and dermal sensitisers when others are not? Early screening work proposed that it was Pt halides that were allergenic, but a number of non-halide, non-Pt compounds have since also proved sensitising. Knowing whether a new research compound is likely to be sensitising would significantly change practises at Johnson Matthey. However, workplace safety focuses on epidemiology and toxicology studies, and there is a dearth of modern research on the nature of the sensitising complex and the changes it undergoes under physiological conditions.  Although chloroplatinates are assumed to be the culprits, occupational exposure limits (OEL) are not measured based on amount of chloroplatinate; only recently has the Advanced Characterisation group at Johnson Matthey Technology Centre devised a method to quantify the Pt and chloride anionic species in air or wipe samples.

The aim of this PhD is to synthesise single PGM compounds to specify which are sensitising (in vitro testing), to identify which components of physiological solutions (e.g. alveolar lining fluid) they interact with (computational chemistry and protein interactions), and to understand the processes that convert them into the biological haptan (EXAFS/XANES, thermodynamic/kinetic modelling).

The applicant will require a strong background in chemistry, either through a good chemistry degree or related fields. Because of the multidisciplinary nature of this research, experience in metal coordination chemistry, biochemistry, and computational modelling would be advantageous.

In the first instance, informal enquiries (accompanied by a CV) should be directed to:

Prof. Jason Love and Prof. Carole Morrison, School of Chemistry, University of Edinburgh, David Brewster Road, Edinburgh EH9 3FJ, UK.

Email: [Email Address Removed]  [Email Address Removed]

The position will remain open until filled.

Equality and Diversity

The School of Chemistry holds a Silver Athena SWAN award in recognition of our commitment to advance gender equality in higher education. The University is a member of the Race Equality Charter and is a Stonewall Scotland Diversity Champion, actively promoting LGBT equality. The University has a range of initiatives to support a family friendly working environment. See our University Initiatives website for further information. University Initiatives website:

Funding Notes

A Johnson Matthey iCASE PhD studentship is available in the groups of Jason Love and Carole Morrison (School of Chemistry, The University of Edinburgh;
The studentship is fully funded for 48 months and covers tuition fees and an annual stipend (starting at £15,609 per annum) for a candidate satisfying EPSRC criteria:

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