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Silver-N-heterocyclic carbene complexes for anticancer applications


Key facts

Type of research degree
Application deadline
Ongoing deadline
Country eligibility
International (open to all nationalities, including the UK)
Competition funded
Dr Charlotte Willans
School of Chemical and Process Engineering
<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. 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. 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=""></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="">University&#39;s website</a>. Please state clearly in the research information section&nbsp;that the research degree you wish to be considered for is &lsquo;Silver-N-heterocyclic carbene complexes for anticancer applications&rsquo; as well as&nbsp;<a href="">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><em>We welcome applications from all suitably-qualified candidates, but UK black and minority ethnic (BME) researchers are currently under-represented in our Postgraduate Research community, and we would therefore particularly encourage applications from UK BME candidates. All scholarships will be awarded on the basis of merit.</em></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><strong>Self-Funding Students</strong></p> <p><strong>Funding Eligibility</strong></p> <p><strong>UK/EU</strong> &ndash;&nbsp;Leeds Doctoral Scholarship Award paying Academic Fees and Maintenance matching EPSRC rate of &pound;15,009 per year for 3 years, Lowson Research Scholarship paying Academic Fees and Maintenance at a fixed rate of &pound;14,000 per year for 3 years, School of Chemistry Scholarship award paying Academic Fees and Maintenance matching EPSRC rate of &pound;15,009 per year for 3 years.&nbsp; Alumni Bursary is available to previous University of Leeds graduates offering 10% discount on Academic Fees.</p> <p><strong>International Students</strong> &ndash;&nbsp;China Scholarship Council-University of Leeds Scholarship Award paying Academic Fees for 3 years,&nbsp;School of Chemistry Scholarship award paying Academic Fees for 3 years, Commonwealth Scholarship and Commonwealth Split Site Scholarships.&nbsp; Alumni Bursary is available to previous University of Leeds graduates offering 10% discount on Academic Fees.</p>

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

<p>For further information regarding your application, please contact Doctoral College Admissions by email: <a href="">maps.pgr.admissions</a><a href=""></a>, or by telephone: +44 (0)113 343 5057.</p> <p>For further information regarding the project, please contact Dr Charlotte Willans by email:&nbsp;&nbsp;<a href=""></a></p>

<h3 class="heading heading--sm">Linked funding opportunities</h3>