The processes which normally keep our body healthy are often hijacked by cancers to maintain tumour growth. Our bodies normal mechanisms to control oxidative stress and inflammation are used by cancer cells to enable metastasis and resistance to therapies. Transcription factors like Nrf2 and MafG form coiled-coil structures, allowing them to bind to DNA, controlling genes for inflammation response. Cancers commonly hijack transcription factors, controlling genes to help it avoid cell death.
This project, funded by Worldwide Cancer Research, aims to use a new technique, developed in our lab, to design small molecules which can control this protein-DNA interaction. This chemical biology and cellular biology project will be interdisciplinary, involving training in the computational design and synthesis of peptides and small molecules, the analysis of compounds binding to proteins and their activity in cancer cells. Led by Dr Andrew Beekman and Professor Maria O’Connell, there is an opportunity to learn medicinal chemistry, protein biophysics and cell biology. The project will be based in the School of Pharmacy, University of East Anglia, amongst a vibrant graduate student community and a stimulating research environment.
Through the project and the range of training opportunities available at the university the student will obtain excellent technical and transferable skills that are highly relevant for working in academia or industry.
You will have, or expect to obtain a first class, 2(i) or equivalent Honours degree in Chemistry, Biochemistry, Pharmacology or related area.
Informal enquiries are welcomed, please contact Dr Andrew Beekman or Prof. Maria O’Connell.