Project code



School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences

Start dates


Closing date

Open all year round

This is a self-funded, 3 year full-time or 6 year part-time PhD studentship. This project is supervised by Dr Karen Ball.

On this PhD, you'll study the design, synthesis and biochemical evaluation of isoflavone derivatives for therapeutic use. The results from biochemical evaluation will feed back into the design process to enhance our understanding of their structure activity relationship.

The work will include:

  • The use of biochemical evaluation methods such as chemical synthesis, NMR, IR, GC-MS, HPLC, and cell culture work
  • access to a skills development program run by our Graduate School

You'll adapt and develop the existing synthesis process for these isoflavone derivative compounds, diversifying the range of compounds that are created.

You'll confirm the purity of the compounds you synthesise, then evaluate these compounds for their effectiveness at maintaining or improving biological activity. This evaluation will include seeing how the compound effects the growth of oestrogen-dependant breast cancer cells.

You'll also carry out binding assays to assess the interaction between the isoflavone molecules you'll synthesise, and oestrogen receptors.

You may also use other biochemical evaluation methods, such as assessing the metabolic liability and potential toxicity of the compounds you've synthesised, through the study of in vitro metabolism and use of MTT and SRB assays.

The experimental and analytical skills that you develop during this project will prepare you for future work in academia or industry.


Self-funded PhD students only. PhD full-time and part-time courses are eligible for the Government Doctoral Loan.

Entry requirements

  • A good honours degree or equivalent, or a master’s degree in a medicinal chemistry or biochemistry field.
  • Exceptionally, equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications will be considered. All applicants are subject to interview.
  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

Make an enquiry

For administrative and admissions enquiries please contact

How to Apply

To start your application, or to enquire informally about the process involved, please contact Dr Karen Ball (, quoting both the project code PHBM4711019 and the project title.

When you are ready to apply, you can use our online application form. Make sure you submit a personal statement, proof of your degrees and grades, details of two referees, proof of your English language proficiency and an up-to-date CV.

You can also visit our How to Apply pages to get a better understanding of how the PhD application process works.

Interview date: TBC

October start

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February start

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