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PhD Studentship: Developing Next-Generation MRI Contrast Agents

University of Birmingham - School of Chemistry

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Birmingham
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: The 2022/23 Stipend is £15,609* p.a (to rise in line with UKRI recommendation) (plus travel allowance in year 1, a travel/conference budget and a laptop)
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 5th November 2021
Closes: 9th January 2022

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is based on the principles of NMR spectroscopy and has become a preeminent tool in medical research and clinical diagnosis. Image contrast in MRI is routinely enhanced by the use of a contrast agent (CA), where the overwhelming majority are based on metal complexes, such as gadolinium, and more recently manganese.  

Our research groups have developed a new class of ligand for the complexation of metal ions, to form CAs with superior properties (JACS 2016, ChemSci 2018, ChemComm2020, AngewChem 2021). These new ligands are based on synthetic miniature protein scaffolds, which are prepared using an automated peptide synthesiser. Through careful peptide design, the resulting complexes spontaneously assemble in water. Alterations to binding site location (ChemSci 2018), and the nature of chemical groups in close proximity (ChemComm2020, AngewChem 2021), can be used to tune the chemical properties and thereby the performance of resulting designs. 

This project builds on a long-term collaboration between the Peacock and Britton groups, bringing together expertise in inorganic chemistry, peptide and protein design, synthesis and spectroscopic characterisation (Peacock) with MRI application and development (Britton). This powerful synergy will offer the student the opportunity to become expert in the broadest range of techniques and skills. 

Applications from candidates with a first degree (with a minimum 2.1 degree or above, or equivalent) in chemistry, or a related subject, are strongly encouraged to apply.

The University is a family-friendly employer and the School of Chemistry welcomes flexible working to suit family or other commitments. The University has on-campus childcare facilities. The School of Chemistry holds an Athena SWAN Bronze Award in recognition of its work in promoting women’s careers in STEM subjects in higher education.

The Midlands Integrative Biosciences Training Partnership (MIBTP) is a BBSRC-funded doctoral training partnership between the Universities of Warwick, Birmingham, Aston, Harper Adams and Leicester. It delivers innovative, world-class research training across the Life Sciences to boost the growing Bioeconomy across the UK. 

To check your eligibility to apply for this project please visit: https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/cross_fac/mibtp/pgstudy/phd_opportunities/application/ 

This studentship is competition funded by the BBSRC MIBTP scheme: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/research/activity/mibtp/index.aspx 

The 2022/23 Stipend is £15,609* p.a (to rise in line with UKRI recommendation)  (plus travel allowance in year 1, a travel/conference budget and a laptop) 

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