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Silver-N-heterocyclic carbene complexes for anticancer applications

PGR-P-124

Key facts

Type of research degree
PhD
Application deadline
Ongoing deadline
Country eligibility
International (open to all nationalities, including the UK)
Funding
Competition funded
Supervisors
Dr Charlotte Willans
Schools
School of Chemistry
<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

In recent years, metal-N-heterocyclic carbene (NHC) complexes have been investigated in biomedical applications, showing promise as antibacterial (silver-NHCs) and as anticancer (palladium-, copper-, gold- and silver-NHCs) agents. Initial work from our group highlights the effects of various silver-NHC complexes on cytotoxicity, with bidentate cationic silver-NHCs being more cytotoxic than their monodentate counterparts. The work, which was a hot article in Dalton Transactions, was highlighted in New Scientist and attracted considerable media attention. More recent work uses NHC ligands that are derived from natural products such as caffeine, with a view to lowering the potential toxicity of the ligand component.<br /> <br /> In collaboration with Professor of cancer pharmacology Roger Phillips and colleagues (Huddersfield), we have thoroughly evaluated the mechanism of action of silver complexes on cancer cells, establishing that multiple pathways to cell death are likely to be in operation. This will enable us to define specific targets and use a more informed approach to ligand design and development. Although silver-NHCs have shown considerable potential as anticancer drugs, and despite the supposed inherent low toxicity of silver, this area has not been developed compared to other metals in cancer therapy.<br /> <br /> A major barrier to the continued development of these compounds is that in vitro activity does not translate in vivo due to changes in metal speciation in biological environments. To address this we are designing both polymer and nanoparticle based drug delivery systems as a means to stabilise the silver complexes in biological environments, deliver the drug to the intended target and release the drug in response to specific stimuli.

<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Full description</h2>

<p>This proposal is representative of the projects currently on offer in our group. For more details of active research projects and collaborations, please visit our webpage at:&nbsp;<a href="https://willans.leeds.ac.uk/">https://willans.leeds.ac.uk</a></p> <p>Further information about&nbsp;<a href="this project">this project</a>&nbsp;(PDF)</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>

<h2 class="heading">How to apply</h2>

<p>Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.leeds.ac.uk/info/130206/applying/91/applying_for_research_degrees">University&#39;s website</a>. Please state clearly in the Planned Course of Study section that you are applying for <em><strong>PHD Chemistry FT</strong></em> and in the research information section&nbsp;that the research degree you wish to be considered for is <em><strong>Silver-N-heterocyclic carbene complexes for anticancer applications</strong></em>&nbsp;as well as&nbsp;<a href="https://physicalsciences.leeds.ac.uk/staff/201/dr-charlotte-willans">Dr Charlotte Willans</a>&nbsp;as your proposed supervisor.</p> <p>If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University&#39;s minimum English language requirements (below).</p> <p style="margin-bottom:11px"><em>As an international research-intensive university, we welcome students from all walks of life and from across the world. We foster an inclusive environment where all can flourish and prosper, and we are proud of our strong commitment to student education. Across all Faculties we are dedicated to diversifying our community and we welcome the unique contributions that individuals can bring, and particularly encourage applications from, but not limited to Black, Asian, people who belong to a minority ethnic community, people who identify as LGBT+ and people with disabilities. Applicants will always be selected based on merit and ability.</em></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">Applications will be considered on an ongoing basis. &nbsp;Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the supervisors for an informal discussion before making a formal application. &nbsp;We also advise that you apply at the earliest opportunity as the application and selection process may close early, should we receive a sufficient number of applications or that a suitable candidate is appointed.</p> <p>Please note that you must provide the following documents at the point you submit your application:</p> <ul> <li>Full Transcripts of all degree study or if in final year of study, full transcripts to date</li> <li>Personal Statement outlining your interest in the project</li> <li>CV</li> <li>Funding information including any alternative sources of funding that you are applying for or if you are able to pay your own fees and maintenance</li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p>

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">Entry requirements</h2>

Applicants to research degree programmes should normally have at least a first class or an upper second class British Bachelors Honours degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate discipline. The criteria for entry for some research degrees may be higher, for example, several faculties, also require a Masters degree. Applicants are advised to check with the relevant School prior to making an application. Applicants who are uncertain about the requirements for a particular research degree are advised to contact the School or Graduate School prior to making an application.

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">English language requirements</h2>

The minimum English language entry requirement for research postgraduate research study is an IELTS of 6.0 overall with at least 5.5 in each component (reading, writing, listening and speaking) or equivalent. The test must be dated within two years of the start date of the course in order to be valid. Some schools and faculties have a higher requirement.

<h2 class="heading">Funding on offer</h2>

<p style="margin-bottom:12px"><strong>Self-Funded or externally sponsored students are welcome to apply.</strong></p> <p><strong>UK</strong>&nbsp;&ndash;&nbsp;The&nbsp;<a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk/funding/209-leeds-doctoral-scholarships-2022">Leeds Doctoral Scholarships</a> and <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk/funding/234-leeds-opportunity-research-scholarship-2022">Leeds Opportunity Research Scholarship</a> are available to UK applicants. <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk/funding/60-alumni-bursary">Alumni Bursary</a> is available to graduates of the University of Leeds.</p> <p><strong>Non-UK</strong> &ndash;The&nbsp;<a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk/funding/48-china-scholarship-council-university-of-leeds-scholarships-2021">China Scholarship Council - University of Leeds Scholarship</a>&nbsp;is available to nationals of China. The&nbsp;<a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk/funding/73-leeds-marshall-scholarship">Leeds Marshall Scholarship</a>&nbsp;is available to support US citizens. <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk/funding/60-alumni-bursary">Alumni Bursary</a> is available to graduates of the University of Leeds.</p> <p><strong>Important:</strong>&nbsp; Any costs associated with your arrival at the University of Leeds to start your PhD including flights, immigration health surcharge/medical insurance and Visa costs are <strong>not</strong> covered under these studentships.</p> <p>Please refer to the <a href="https://www.ukcisa.org.uk/">UKCISA</a> website for information regarding Fee Status for Non-UK Nationals.</p>

<h2 class="heading">Contact details</h2>

<p>For further information about your application, please contact Doctoral College Admissions: e:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:maps.pgr.admissions@leeds.ac.uk">maps.pgr.admissions</a><a href="mailto:EMAIL@leeds.ac.uk">@leeds.ac.uk</a></p> <p>For further information about this project, please contact Dr Charlotte Willans: e:&nbsp;&nbsp;<a href="mailto:C.E.Willans@leeds.ac.uk">C.E.Willans@leeds.ac.uk</a></p>