We are currently advertising National Productivity Investment Fund Industrial CASE studentships with a deadline of the 16th July 2018.

02 / 10 / 2017

Searching for the sialic acid sweet spot (MORRIS_U18DTP)

how to apply

Sialic acids are a type of carbohydrate that are involved in protein binding interactions of various biological systems such as virus-host cell binding, inflammation and cancer. The complex structure and low binding affinity of sialic acids has led to a lack of robust biochemical tools to study their biological behaviour in health and disease.

This PhD project will involve the development of specific glycopeptide libraries that will allow researchers to study sialic acid interactions with novel tools. The project will be highly collaborative and interdisciplinary. You will learn a range of techniques ranging from phage display screening, synthesis of carbohydrate derivatives, NMR spectroscopy and cell culture. The project will be based in Dr Chris Morris’ lab (UEA School of Pharmacy) but will involve spending significant periods of time in the labs of Prof Rob Field (John Innes Centre) and Dr Jesus Angulo (UEA). There is also an opportunity to travel overseas to perform key biological experiments with promising glycopeptide molecules.

The student will have, or expect to obtain a first class, 2(i) or equivalent Honours degree in Chemistry, Biochemistry, Pharmacy or a related area.

Informal enquiries are welcomed; for further information please contact Dr Chris Morris (

References i) Cell. Mol. Life Sci. 63 (2006) 1331–1354 ii) J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2015, 137, 5248−5251 iii) Eur Biophys J. 2011 Dec;40(12):1357-69