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White Rose BBSRC DTP studentship: Caged covalent probes for controlling the function of mitotic kinases


   Faculty of Biological Sciences


Leeds United Kingdom Analytical Chemistry Biochemistry Cancer Biology Cell Biology Organic Chemistry Synthetic Chemistry

About the Project

In this project you will develop chemical tools to precisely modulate protein function in cells. Kinases are one of the largest protein families in humans. They play critical roles in normal function and are important therapeutic targets in cancer and autoimmune disorders. Kinases are dynamic proteins that take on different conformations, controlling their activity, substrates and interactions, according to cell state and their location. Many kinases can be targeted by covalent inhibitors, which are valuable drugs and tools for understanding biology. However, covalent inhibitors are always “on”. This project will develop covalent inhibitors whose reactivity is caged and can be released to control and study kinase activity in cells. We will focus on mitotic kinases that are involved in driving and regulating cell division and are targets in cancer. You will also map reactive sites on kinases to understand how covalent inhibitors can target different kinase conformations.

In this interdisciplinary project you will use synthetic chemistry, biochemistry and cell biology. You will join groups with expertise in chemical biology (Megan Wright, Andrew Wilson) and cancer structural biology (Richard Bayliss). This project would ideally suit a student with a background in chemistry and a passion for research at the chemistry-biology interface.

Funding Note

This studentship is part of the BBSRC White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership in Mechanistic Biology. (https://www.whiterose-mechanisticbiology-dtp.ac.uk/). Appointed candidates will be fully-funded for 4 years. The funding includes:

Tax-free annual UKRI stipend (£15,609 for 2021/22 starts. Awards increase every year, typically with inflation).

UK tuition fees (Around £4,500 per year)

Research Training and Support Grant (RTSG)

Conference and Professional Internships for PhD Students (PIPS) allowances

We aim to support the most outstanding applicants from inside and outside the UK. We are able to offer a limited number of bursaries that will enable full studentships to be awarded to international applicants. These full studentships will only be awarded to exceptional quality candidates, due to the competitive nature of this scheme.

Not all projects will be funded; the DTP will appoint a limited number of candidates via a competitive process.

How to apply

Applicants should complete an online application form and attach the following documentation to support their application. 

  • a full academic CV
  • degree certificate and transcripts of marks
  • Evidence that you meet the University's minimum English language requirements (if applicable).

To help us identify that you are applying for this studentship project please ensure you provide the following information on your application form;

  • Select PhD in Biological Sciences as your programme of study
  • Give the full project title and name the supervisors listed in this advert
  • For source of funding please state you are applying for a White Rose BBSRC DTP funded studentship

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