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5-Month Internship in Organic Synthesis

Project: A fully funded 5-month internship in synthetic organic chemistry in the Thorn-Seshold research group, LMU Munich (Germany), is available starting in April/May 2018. We tackle research from chemical synthesis to complex biological evaluations, working broadly to develop new chemical strategies to diagnose and treat cancer. We develop new concepts for responsive probes and inhibitors whose bioactivity or signal generation can be triggered either by biological processes in specific cells, or by the experimenter using high-precision stimuli such as light. This specificity enables previously impossible biological studies and high-precision diagnostic uses.[1,2] Our response strategies often include photopharmaceuticals (drug analogues where light-induced isomerisation of a key bond flips the compound between inactive and active states), and "pharmacogenic" compounds (a biochemical or photoisomerisation step causes a reaction cascade that forms or destroys the drug in situ).

[1] http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2015.06.049

[2] http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/C2CC32227G

Requirements: We are looking for a highly motivated and experimentally talented student with a Master's degree, with strong practical experience in organic chemistry, to test two new concepts for photoresponsive compounds. These are (1) testing photoisomerisable fluorescent inhibitors as high-performance photoswitches; and (2) creating reversibly photoreactive unnatural amino acids for drastic conformational control of protein tertiary structure. Good knowledge of spoken and written English are essential; applicants should have a strong background in synthetic organic chemistry and be motivated to develop their research independence.

Group: Dr. Oliver Thorn-Seshold, Chemistry & Pharmacy, LMU Munich

Website: www.cup.lmu.de/ph/aks/thornseshold/




1a: the photopharmaceutical PST-1 that controls tubulin dynamics; 1b: PST-1 can be used to alter the development pattern of model organisms by applying cell-specific, reversible mitotic arrest[1]. 2a: biochemical prodrug where selective cleavage of bond Q-R results in liberation of the active drug[2]; 2b: a related pharmacogenic approach, where the chemical “fuse” motif also forms an active drug after cleavage of Q-R.