Undergraduate News

Department of Chemistry University of Oxford

Welcome to the news listings for the Chemistry Undergraduate students.

The purpose of these pages is to share information that may be of particular interest to Part II students.



Tonbridge School is looking to recruit a number of Graduate Assistants to start at the school in September 2021. Details about the role, the school, and the market-leading package can be found here: https://www.tonbridge-school.co.uk/about/employment-opportunities/job-detail-page/~board/jobs/post/graduate-assistant. An informal Zoom event is being held on Monday 25th January at 17.30, led by previous Graduate Assistants, and we very much encourage anyone interested in applying for the position (or who wants to find out a little more) to attend.

To sign up, please click here: https://www.tonbridgeconnect.org/event/tonbridge-graduate-assistant-role-overview


Fully funded PhD positions - International PhD Program in Molecular Technologies and Systems Medicine

My name is Dr Matthew Spencer, I am the PhD program manager at CeMM, the Research Center for Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna.

We are offering 15 fully funded PhD positions our International PhD Program in Molecular Technologies and Systems Medicine

We are seeking students with a keen interest in interdisciplinary teamwork and science that nurtures the precise, personalized, predictive and preventive medicine of the future, and thought that this might be of particular interest to your students.

We are highly interdisciplinary and looking for medics, biologists, chemists, bioinformaticians, computer scientists, engineers, physicists, mathematicians, and candidates with a degree in a similar subject to apply now.

The deadline for applications is 27th January 2021.

Further information at - https://cemm.at/fileadmin/img/Career/CeMM_PhD_Program_Call_2021_Announcement_long.pdf

Interested students can apply quick and easy via our online recruitment tool: https://cemm.at/phd-program/application/

Matthew Spencer, PhD (PhD and Postdoc Program Manager)


EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Technology Enhanced Chemical Synthesis

Fully-funded, 4-year studentships covering fees and stipend

For further details, please see HERE

The deadline for application is Tuesday, 23rd September 2021.



Applications open for PhD studentships at The Institute of Cancer Research

Applications for our Main Recruitment Round 2020/21 at the ICR are now open.

We are pleased to announce that we currently have four chemistry projects open starting in October 2021.
The link below takes you to our recruitment page which also has full details of the projects and links to further information regarding fees and stipends e.t.c. https://www.icr.ac.uk/phds

Projects are open to applications from eligible candidates via our online student recruitment system.
We particularly welcome applicants from British Black and ethnic minority backgrounds, as they are under-represented at PhD level within the ICR and nationwide.

Please see also the attached adverts (below) for more information.

Dr. Gurdip Bhalay

Dr. Gary Newton

Prof. Swen Hoelder

Dr. Olivia Rossanese

Application deadline  - 15 November 2020



PhD studentships for 2021/2022

Applications are invited for PhD study in the Computational Physics and Chemistry group of Professor Jochen Blumberger,
Department of Physics and Astronomy, University College London, UK.

Projects are available in the following areas:

  • Bioelectronics: Molecular simulation of gold-protein-gold junctions and calculation of their current-voltage response
  • Solar Cell Materials: Development and application of non-adiabatic molecular dynamics methods for simulation of exciton transport and dissociation at organic donor-acceptor interfaces
  • Organic Electronics: Development and application of non-adiabatic molecular dynamics methods for simulation of charge transport in covalent organic frameworks.

The projects will be carried out in close collaboration with international experimental partner laboratories and will aid the atomistic interpretation of current-voltage measurements or ultra-fast optical pump-probe experiments. Access to high performance computing facilities will be provided. Interested candidates may want to take a look at recent group publications in the field, listed on the group website.

Good knowledge in quantum mechanics and statistical mechanics is expected and interest in writing computer code and shell scripts is an advantage. Interested candidates are requested to send a CV and a transcript of undergraduate studies (and Master studies if applicable) to Jochen Blumberger, j.blumberger@ucl.ac.uk

Suitable applicants from the UK, EU and Overseas will be considered for GRS/ORS studentships or UK Research Council Studentships.

Chinese nationals will be considered for the UCL  Dean’s Prize which will cover all tuition fees for 4 years. If successful, the candidate then applies to the Chinese Scholarship Council which covers living expenses for 4 years. Further information can be found here.

It is advised that informal enquiries should be sent to Jochen Blumberger in due course, ideally by end of November to allow enough time for preparation of application documents.




PhD project on conformational dynamics of STING

Are you fascinated by the way that proteins can change shape? Do you want to find out how this can be affected by drug binding? Do you want an interdisciplinary PhD on a cancer immunotherapy drug target with an industrial placement at the global pharmaceutical company MSD?
Then apply for this BBSRC-funded PhD: Conformational dynamics of the immune regulator STING.  
Informal enquiries welcome to c.a.dodson@bath.ac.uk

Protein conformational dynamics – and the way in which these are influenced by small molecule ligands – are increasingly thought to underpin the mechanism of many biological processes. The protein STING (stimulator of interferon genes) regulates the interferon-mediated antiviral response and is activated by 2’,3’-cyclic guanosine monophosphate-adenosine monophosphate (cGAMP) in response to cytosolic DNA. STING is also activated by the presence of some pathogenic bacteria. Upon activation, bound cGAMP is sequestered from bulk solution within the STING dimer interface by closure of a 20-residue lid region, coupled to larger-scale conformational change. There is currently much commercial interest in the development of STING agonists for use in anti-cancer immunotherapy, however the underlying biophysical behaviour of STING (timescale and drivers of conformational change) remains poorly understood.

This project will address this gap by developing a fluorescence assay to report on STING conformational change in solution. We will characterise STING conformation in the presence and absence of small molecule ligands and determine the timescale of conformational change. We will probe conformational heterogeneity by performing experiments at the single molecule level and will carry out modelling to relate protein conformation and dynamics to ligand residence time. Our experimental equipment can capture events on timescales ranging from nanosecond to hours.

The project will be supervised by Dr Charlotte Dodson at University of Bath (lead academic supervisor), Dr Katie Chapman at MSD (Merck Sharp Dohme; industrial supervisor) and Prof Jean van den Elsen (University of Bath; second academic supervisor). It is suitable for students with a biological or physical science background who are interested in the physical behaviour of proteins and drug-target interactions. As part of the PhD, you will undertake a 6 month placement in the MSD laboratories at the Francis Crick Institute in London.

Closing date for applications: 11th December 2020

Key techniques: protein expression and labelling, single molecule fluorescence, mathematical modelling of equilibria, assay development, drug screening.

Key references:
Pan B-S, Perera SA, Piesvaux JA et al. (2020) Science 369:eaba6098 (STING and STING ligands)
Berger G, Marloye M, Lawler SE (2019) Trends Mol Med. 25:412-27 (STING in Cancer Immunotherapy)
Gilburt JAH, Sarkar H, … Dodson CA (2017) Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 56:11409-14; Gilburt JAH, Girvan P, …Dodson CA (2019). Chem Sci. 10:4069-76 (experimental methodology)