PhD Studentship: The Development of New Technology Platforms for Peptide Synthesis and Modification

Durham University - Department of Chemistry and Cambridge Research Biochemicals Ltd

Duration: 36 months

Starting: October 2018

Project Description

Peptides are biological molecules with wide-ranging applications in the fields of both chemical biology and drug discovery. They can provide valuable tools for the interrogation of complex biological and cellular process enabling a greater understanding of the underpinning biochemistry to be obtained. In addition, naturally occurring peptides often provide inspiration for the design and development of novel drug candidates against a wide-range of diseases. Indeed, research focused on the development of peptide-based drugs continues to gather momentum [e.g. J. Med. Chem., 2018, 61 (4), 1382–1414], in part due to the “chemical space” that peptides occupy between small molecules and biologics (e.g. antibodies). In addition properties such as biocompatibility and diversity, both in terms of functionality and structure, make them attractive candidates for a variety of biomedical and therapeutic applications.

In both the design of new peptide based tools for biologists/ chemical-biology or in the development of new peptide based drug candidates the ability to modify and manipulate peptide systems beyond what is produced by nature is critical. For example, modification can be used to introduce a reactive chemical handle for drug target validation or it can be used to provide chemical and biological stability to a given peptide sequence. 

The PhD project offers the chance to be part of an exciting collaboration between the Cobb group at Durham University ( and Cambridge Research Biochemicals (https:/ It will look to develop a range of new technology platforms for peptide synthesis and modification. The specific focus and aims of the research program are informed by both the current state-of-the-art and by Cambridge Research Biochemicals extensive customer engagement (e.g. both with academia and industry) over more than 30 years as a specialised peptide supplier.


Applicants will need to be in possession of an undergraduate degree at a 2:1 honours level or above (or equivalent) in a discipline directly relevant to the research areas of chemistry and biology. The funding restriction means that only UK/EU applicants are eligible to apply.


Interested applicants should send a CV (no longer than 2 pages, and should include the contact details of 2 references) and a short cover letter to

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Northern England