Lighting up biotherapeutics


Over the last decade, several antibody-based biotherapeutics have been developed for treatment of cancer. These antibodies, often marketed as “targeted therapeutics”, bind to cell surface receptors on cancer cells and direct them towards apoptosis (programmed cell death). However, the same cell surface receptors are also present on healthy cells, leading to severe side effects. If the binding of antibody to its antigen could be activated at the site of cancer cells, it would reduce the side effects of antibody-based therapeutics. The long-term goal of this project is to develop antibodies that can be activated by light at the site of cancer cells, thereby reducing the side effects of therapeutic antibodies.

The successful applicant will be a talented biochemist or chemist with enthusiasm for chemistry, chemical biology, and molecular biology. The candidate will work at the forefront of chemical and synthetic biology and will develop advanced skills in chemical synthesis, various molecular biology and analytical techniques, including molecular cloning, protein expression and purification, gel electrophoresis, western blotting, and HPLC. The research work will be performed in the Chemical and Synthetic Biology laboratories housed in the School of Chemistry, University of East Anglia under the supervision of Dr. Amit Sachdeva and Dr. Maria J. Marin.


Sachdeva* & T. Bridge (2020) Photoactive antibodies. Patent, Patent Cooperation Treaty, Publication Number: WO2020/193981.

Z. Cheng, E. Kuru, A. Sachdeva and M. Vendrell (2020) Fluorescent amino acids as versatile building blocks for chemical biology. Nature Reviews Chemistry, 4, 275.

T. Bridge, S.A. Shaikh, P. Thomas, J. Botta, P.J. McCormick & A. Sachdeva* (2019) Site‐Specific Encoding of Photoactivity in Antibodies Enables Light‐Mediated Antibody–Antigen Binding on Live Cells. Angewandte Chemie Int. Ed., 58, 17986.