PhD position supported by GW4 DTP

We are seeking for a self-motivated and intelligent PhD student to help address a key global challenge – designing and producing novel antibacterial agents – by using a mixture of microbiology, biocatalysis, computational chemistry and chemical biology techniques.

The use of active cyclic peptides as pharmaceuticals has become the frontier for drug discovery. Natural cyclic peptides confer a wide range of biological activity, whereas de novo designed cyclic peptides incorporated with unnatural amino acids are shown to be potent modulators for “undruggable” targets. Noticeably, because of their stabilities against acid and protease treatments, antibacterial cyclic peptides are particularly suitable for treating gastrointestinal infections, including ones that pose major socioeconomic threats because of their multi-drug including carbapenem resistance. Hence, an efficient, large-scale method to produce a wide range of antibacterial cyclic peptides is needed but has not yet been developed.

In nature, transpeptidases are a family of enzymes that are capable of mediating cyclisation of linear peptides with high catalytic efficiency. However, catalytically active transpeptidases often cannot be produced under fermenting conditions. Such a technical issue strongly hampers the use of transpeptidases as tools for peptide/protein cyclisation. The prime research goal of this PhD programme is to employ transpeptidases as the central catalyst and develop gram-scale biosynthetic procedures of cyclic peptidyl antibacterial reagents.

This PhD programme is an exciting opportunity to help address the current and global crisis of antibiotic resistance. This programme will draw on expertise from both Cardiff and Bristol. Advanced training in synthetic biology, enzymology and organic chemistry will be delivered by Dr Louis Luk and Prof Rudolf Allemann at the Cardiff School of Chemistry, whereas Prof Jean-Yves Maillard will provide key training on high-throughput antibiotic screening and other microbiology techniques. The student will also gain important experience in computational biochemistry in the laboratory of Dr Marc van der Kamp. By the end of this PhD programme, the student will have both crucial experimental and computational skills that are frequently used in academic and industrial settings.


Post-doctoral position supported by the Leverhulme Trust

The project aims to use a novel protein engineering approach to develop a novel chemical catalytic system. The successful candidate will employ the proposed catalytic system to develop novel chemical biology tools.

Essential Criteria 

  1. Postgraduate degree at PhD level in (bio)chemistry or a closely related field with experience in physical organic chemistry or relevant industrial experience
  2. Experience of Synthetic and Biological Chemistry including knowledge of current status of research in this specialist field
  3. An established expertise and proven portfolio of research and/or relevant industrial experience within the following research fields:
  • chemical catalysis
  • physical organic chemistry
  • molecular biology
  1. Proven ability to publish in international journals
  2. Ability to understand and support applications for competitive research funding
  3. Proven ability in effective and persuasive communication
  4. Ability to supervise the work of others to focus team efforts and motivate individuals

Interested applicants should contact Dr Louis Luk ( with CV and cover letter included.


Post-doctoral position supported by the Wellcome Seed Trust

The project aims to develop novel chemical biology tools for studying protein glycosylation.

Essential Criteria 

  1. A 2:1 or 1st Class Honours degree (or equivalent) in Chemistry or related discipline.
  2. Knowledge and experience of research methods and techniques within synthetic chemistry
  3. Proven ability to analyse complex information and summaries appropriately
  4. Proven communication skills, including presentation to various audiences
  5. Excellent organisational and team-working skills
  6. Proven ability to demonstrate creativity, innovation and teamworking within work
  7. Ability to supervise day-to-day lab work of graduate/undergraduate research students

Desirable Criteria

  1. PhD in Chemistry, or related discipline with a focus on chemical synthesis
  2. Knowledge and experience of bioorthogonal chemistry
  3. Experience with research methods and techniques within biochemistry and molecular biology

Interested applicants should contact Dr Louis Luk ( with CV and cover letter included.