PhD in Electrochemistry - Probing the Interactions between Bioinorganic Compounds and DNA

Job Description

Project Description

With the remarkable and increasingly rapid advances in the use of bioinorganic compounds (BC)in medicine as superoxide dismutase (SOD) mimics, anti-cancer, anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory therapeutic agents, there is a drive for future healthcare to be tailored to meet the specific needs of the individual. Thus, synthesis of a wide range of BC will be required to treat the ailments of individual patients. The challenge, thus presented, is the design of BC drugs that can interact with DNA sites specific to an individual’s genetic code, thus conferring enhanced selectivity and potency of the BC drug.

The project will be comprised of three main research areas;  1) Fundamental Electrochemistry of reactive oxygen (ROS) and nitrogen species (RNS), 2) Mode of Action of bioinorganic compounds (BC) used in therapeutics and as anti-microbial agents, and 3) Diagnostic DNA Sensors.

1) Radical detection and quantification will be investigated using rotating ring disk electrodes, microelectrodes, and nanoelectrodes. After generation of radical calibration curves, analysis will be performed in vivo, using macrophages.

2) Modes of action of BC will be investigated in solution, at DNA modified electrodes (DME), and in vivo, using electrochemical techniques. Electrochemical data will be obtained for BC libraries which contain various derivatised aromatic ligands and metal centres, to evaluate structure-function relationships. For non ‘self-activating’ BC, the presence of exogenous reductant and oxidant will be probed.

3) The proposed fabricated diagnostic sensors will be used for genetic disease diagnosis, gene mutation detection, and for identification of aromatic ligands that are DNA site specific, which will serve to enhance specificity and potency of BC. The overall project goal, towards personalised healthcare, is to collate data obtained in each of the three areas, and use the acquired information to direct the design of therapeutic bioinorganic compounds.

Student Requirements

Minimum requirement:  A 2.1 BSc in Chemical Sciences

Masters in electrochemistry or related discipline would be advantageous


Dr John Colleran

How to apply

Please complete the application form online available at