This doctoral training programme aims to create a new generation of researchers, capable of integrating quantitative and analytical methods to drive discovery and innovation in the biomedical, biotechnology and pharmaceutical sectors. The programme includes a one-year MSc in Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research and a three-year PhD supervised by internationally leading experts from the physical and biomedical sciences and industry.
Project title: Peptidomimetic Inhibitors for the MraY-protein E interaction site as anti-Pseudomonas therapeutics
Warwick supervisor: Professor Timothy Bugg
Industry supervisor: Dr Andrew Merritt (LifeArc)
Project summary: Peptido-mimetic inhibitors of the MraY-protein E interaction as anti-Pseudomonas therapeutics Many antibiotics target cell wall peptidoglycan biosynthesis in bacteria. However the spread of anti-microbial resistance requires the development of new antibiotics. Translocase 1 (MraY) catalyses the first step in cell wall biosynthesis and interacts with protein E from bacteriophage phiX174. We have found that peptides of general sequence Arg-Trp-x-x-Trp, which block interaction of MraY and protein E, show antimicrobial activity against antibiotic resistant strains of Pseudomonas and other gram-negative pathogens. In this project the student will involve chemical synthesis of new peptido-mimetic analogues, guided by docking studies at LifeArc Ltd, to generate a new class of antibiotics.
Applicants should have experience in chemical synthesis and interests in medicinal chemistry.
Project title: Bicyclic peptides: targeting toxins and pathogens to accelerate anti-infective discovery
Warwick supervisor: Professor Christopher Dowson
Industry supervisor: Dr Mike Dawson (Bicycle Therapeutics Ltd)
Project summary: Infectious diseases are a global problem, particularly the development of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). We are using bicyclic peptides, which are structurally similar to many of the commonly prescribed natural product cyclic peptide antibiotics, for the generation of a new class of anti-bacterial drugs. In this project the student will use molecular microbiology, biochemistry, structural biology and synthetic technologies available at Bicycles Ltd to develop new compounds that target essential cell division proteins and toxins to tackle Streptococcus pneumoniae and Staphylococcus aureus infections.
Applicants should have a good undergraduate degree in molecular microbiology, biochemistry, or structural biology.
Project title: Development of novel Purine-based analgesics
Industry supervisor: Professor Dave Spanswick (NeuroSolutions Ltd)
Project summary: Pain is a common condition that can be extremely debilitating for chronic sufferers. While a wide range of analgesics (compounds that provide pain relief) are available, not all analgesics are suitable for all types of pain and opioid analgesics can cause dependence. New analgesics are therefore needed. Adenosine is a neurotransmitter in the central and peripheral nervous systems that has analgesic properties. In collaboration with leading pain specialists at Neurosolutions Ltd and colleagues at the Universities of Bern (Switzerland) and Cambridge (UK) this project will explore novel compounds targeting adenosine receptors for their potential as new classes of analgesics.
Applicants should have an 1st or a 2:1 Honours degree or MSc in neuroscience or a related discipline, ideally with practical research experience.
Project title: Modelling Receptor Uptake in Glucose Homeostasis
Warwick supervisor: Professor Michael Chappell
Industry supervisor: Dr Robert Willis (Sosei Heptares)
Project summary: The failure to regulate glucose levels in humans can lead to a range of diseases, most notably diabetes. This PhD project will utilise preclinical and clinical data from Heptares Therapeutics to develop mathematical models that describe the interaction of novel pharmaceutical agents with their cellular receptor(s) and predict their subsequent action on the pathways that regulate glucose homeostasis. Development of these models will provide a tool that can be used to interrogate how the various pathways interact, to select applicable patient populations and disease indicators and to help design clinical trials that enable the development of novel strategies for disease intervention.
Applicants should have a good undergraduate degree in mathematics, engineering, statistics or a related discipline.
Project title: Innovative statistical methods for clinical trial pathways supporting regulatory drug approval
Warwick supervisor: Professor Nigel Stallard
Industry supervisor: Dr Cornelia Ursula Kunz (Boehringer Ingelheim)
Project summary: In collaboration with Boehringer Ingelheim, this PhD project will address important questions in the statistical design of clinical trials conducted to support the regulatory approval of new drugs. The project will involve modelling of decision-making and optimal design approaches for clinical trials, including the use of flexible innovative trial designs and the incorporation of external historical or concurrent data in the evidence base used to support regulatory approval. Statistical techniques involved will include the control of frequentist error rates, Bayesian and decision-modelling methods.
Applicants should have a good undergraduate degree in statistics or a related discipline.