menu

School of Biological and Chemical Sciences

Postgraduate menu

Developing prodrugs to target neglected tropical diseases

Background

Over 20 million people suffer from diseases caused by the protozoan parasites responsible for American trypanosomiasis, African trypanosomiasis & leishmaniasis. With no prospect of vaccines, chemotherapy is of major importance. However, current treatments are unsatisfactory & the development of new drugs is a priority. Previous drug screening programmes carried out at SBCS have identified several, potent anti-parasitic nitro- & quinone-based compounds that show little/no cytotoxicity to mammalian cells. These compounds invariably function as prodrugs & following activation are postulated to mediate their mode of action by promoting DNA damage.

The aim of this PhD project is to build on these findings to:

  1. Establish whether these compounds promote DNA damage in parasite & mammalian cells
  2. Evaluate the role played by parasite DNA repair pathways to fix this damage.

Additionally, the successful applicant will develop tagged intracellular parasite lines for additional drug screening programmes. It is envisaged that by understanding how these bioreductive compounds mediate their anti-parasitic activities will inform the development of new chemical structures that have translational potential.

Training

The successful applicant will receive a comprehensive training in molecular biology & biochemical skills. Instructions in Good Microbiological practice will be given, with emphasis on the culturing & genetic manipulation of category 2 & 3 pathogens, as well as on mammalian tissue culture work.

Personalised training in writing and communication skills will be provided, complemented with generic transferable skills training from the QMUL Learning Institute.

Eligibility

Funding through China Scholarship Council

Applicants should be Chinese nationals and are required to have at least an upper second class degree and a Masters degree in Biology, Zoology, Physiology, Molecular/Cellular Biology, Pharmacology or Biochemistry from a top university anywhere in the world.

Experience of laboratory-based research involving use of one or more of the following techniques would also be desirable, but not essential:

  • Bioinformatics
  • DNA Cloning
  • Confocal microscopy
  • Culturing of pathogens

International students must provide evidence of proficient English language skills, see our entry requirements page for further information.

Funding through Ciência sem Fronteiras

Applicants should be Brazilian nationals and are required to have at least an upper second class degree and a Masters degree in Biology, Zoology, Physiology, Molecular/Cellular Biology, Pharmacology or Biochemistry from a top university anywhere in the world.

Experience of laboratory-based research involving use of one or more of the following techniques would also be desirable, but not essential:

  • Bioinformatics
  • DNA Cloning
  • Confocal microscopy
  • Culturing of pathogens

International students must provide evidence of proficient English language skills, see our entry requirements page for further information.

Self-funding

If you are interested in self-funding please contact Dr Wilkinson by e-mail (s.r.wilkinson@qmul.ac.uk) to discuss your eligibility for this project.

Application process

Funding through China Scholarship Council

Applications for 2015 entry have now closed. To express your interest in this project for 2016 please contact the project supervisor Dr Shane Wilkinson by e-mail (s.r.wilkinson@qmul.ac.uk).

Potential candidates will then be asked to take part in an informal discussion using Skype. Following that you may be asked to submit an applications via the Queen Mary online application form.

If you are successful we will give you an offer on the condition that you are given a funding award from the China Scholarship Council. When you have received a conditional offer, apply directly to the China Scholarship Council.

Funding through Ciência sem Fronteiras

Potential candidates should contact Dr Shane Wilkinson by e-mail (s.r.wilkinson@qmul.ac.uk) so that an informal discussion can be arranged using Skype.

Applications to Queen Mary and Ciência sem Fronteiras are accepted all year round but we encourage you to contact Dr Shane Wilkinson as soon as possible.

If you are successful we will give you an offer on the condition that you are given a funding award from Ciência sem Fronteiras. When you have received a conditional offer, apply directly to Ciência sem Fronteiras.

Publications

View a list of publications from Dr Shane Wilkinson

Return to top