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Chemical biology studies with anticancer natural products (GANESANU16SF)

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  • Full or part time
    Prof Ganesan
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Nature provides us with a bountiful supply of secondary metabolites with intricate and unusual structural motifs. Such compounds are excellent targets for total synthesis as they provide a challenging setting for testing and optimising new methodology as well as designing creative solutions that reach the target in an elegant and efficient manner. In addition, natural product total synthesis has important practical applications. For example, it can be scaled up to provide more material than may be available from the natural source. Furthermore, the total synthesis route can be readily modified to give novel unnatural analogues. In many cases, such compounds are useful as mechanistic and biological probes and are superior to the natural product itself in terms of their properties for clinical use.

Our research group is actively working on the synthesis of biologically active natural products isolated from terrestrial and marine organisms. These studies are combined with studies on the biosynthesis, mechanism of action and the discovery of structure-activity relationships through analogue synthesis, often in collaboration with other research groups. Our target molecules range from heterocyclic alkaloids, polyketides, terpenoids to peptides and depsipeptides. Currently, our emphasis is on compounds with anticancer activity and the specific target will be selected for you based on your background, experience and research interests. In the course of the PhD project you will be trained in organic synthesis, chemical biology, medicinal chemistry and molecular biology and will be suited for an independent science-based career in these disciplines upon completion. The references below are all examples of publications from our group based upon research carried out by PhD students.

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 http://www.uea.ac.uk/pgresearch/pgrfees.

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.

References

1) Masuda, Y.; Tanaka, R.; Kai, K.; Ganesan, A.; Doi, T. Total Synthesis and Biological Evaluation of PF1171A, C, F, and G, Cyclic Hexapeptides with Insecticidal Activity. J. Org. Chem. 2014, 79, 7844-7853.
2) Hamon, M.; Dickinson, N.; Devineau, A.; Bolien, D.; Tranchant, M.-J.; Taillier, C.; Jabin, I.; Harrowven, D. C.; Whitby, R. J.; Ganesan, A.; Dalla, V. Intra- and Intermolecular Alkylation of N,O-Acetals and pi-Activated Alcohols Catalyzed by in Situ Generated Acid. J. Org. Chem. 2014, 79, 1900-1912.
3) Tortorici, M.; Borrello, M. T.; Tardugno, M.; Chiarelli, L. R.; Pilotto, S.; Ciossani, G.; Vellore, N. A.; Bailey, S. G.; Cowan, J.; O’Connell, M.; Crabb, S. J.; Packham, G.; Mai, A.; Baron, R.; Ganesan, A.; Mattevi, A. Protein Recognition by Short Peptide Reversible Inhibitors of the Chromatin-Modifying LSD1/CoREST Lysine Demethylase. ACS Chem. Biol. 2013, 8, 1677-1682.
4) Shaheen, F.; Rizvi, T. S.; Musharraf, S. G.; Ganesan, A.; Xiao, K.; Townsend, J. B.; Lam, K. S.; Choudhary, M. I. Solid-Phase Total Synthesis of Cherimolacyclopeptide E and Discovery of More Potent Analogues by Alanine Screening. J. Nat. Prod. 2012, 75, 1882-1887.
5) Benelkebir, H.; Donlevy, A. M.; Packham, G.; Ganesan, A. Total Synthesis and Stereochemical Assignment of Burkholdac B, a Depsipeptide HDAC Inhibitor. Org. Lett. 2011, 13, 6334-6337.

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