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MSc by Research in Computational Medicinal Chemistry with Industrial Placement

Course Description

University of Hertfordshire (http://www.herts.ac.uk) in collaboration with Evotec (UK) Ltd (http://www.evotec.com) is currently seeking to recruit two students to an MSc by Research course with Industrial Placement in Evotec’s Discovery Alliances Department based in Abingdon Oxfordshire. This department is at the heart of Evotec’s business and is at the forefront of new science and technology. It works within fundamental research and innovation projects and closely with partners to develop novel small molecule drugs.

As an MSc Student within the Discovery Alliances Business you will have previous experience or an interest in computational chemistry and programming. You will be performing research and development projects in collaboration with other Evotec scientific staff and Prof.


Mire Zloh (UH) as an academic supervisor. Depending on your interests, expertise and previous experience you will have opportunity to work on one of the following projects:

ADME modelling prediction using internal & opensource data -

This project is in the area of predictive modelling of Absorption, Distribution, Metabolism and Excretion (ADME) parameters, specifically looking at combining ADME data measured at Evotec with publicly available data to expand and improve the Evotec ADME predictive modelling suite. There are three stages to this project. The first part is a literature review to explore current methods to merge experimental data from different sources. The second aspect is to build a robust computer infrastructure to retrieve literature ADME data and merge it with the internal information. The third part is to construct a computer infrastructure to build, validate and apply the ADME models. Pipelining package KNIME and scripting in the statistical software R will be used for the latter two parts. The performance and the applicability domain of the newly built models will be critically evaluated for performance by comparing to the existing models in the literature and assessed for viability of their implementation in pharmaceutical industry setting.

Target identification and design of novel molecules with antimicrobial activity -

The challenge of multidrug resistance (MDR) has become a critical issue in treating bacterial infections. The continuous dissemination of MDR bacteria drastically reduces the efficiency of the antibiotic arsenal and consequently increases the frequency of therapeutic failure. One major component of resistance to many classes of antimicrobials as well as chemotherapeutic agents is multidrug efflux. Efflux transporters are found in both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, and actively remove chemical agents out of the cell. This project aims to find novel classes of compounds with a potential to be developed as drugs against multidrug resistant bacteria. Initially, computational identification and validation of novel targets in a range of bacterial strains will be carried out. The validated targets will then be used as templates for the de novo design of molecules with potential antimicrobial activity and ability to evade efflux pumps. The designed molecules will be synthesized and tested against a range of multidrug strains by our collaborators. The de novo design approach will be complemented with a range of other in silico screening techniques to build a library of compounds with a potential to be developed into clinical candidates.

Desirable Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

• You must possess an honours degree (normally at least 2:1 or above) in a relevant discipline.
• Self-motivated, enthusiastic, cooperative and reliable.
• The ability to work accurately and with attention to detail.
• Good interpersonal skills and the ability to work well with other scientific staff.
• The ability to work well independently, and as part of a team.
• Good organisational and time management skills.
• Good verbal communication skills.
• Computer proficiency.

Responsibilities at the placement may include:

• Supporting a project team by conducting research with defined, agreed objectives and timelines.
• Contributing to the design, execution and interpretation of experiments in a project team to accomplish project goals.
• Adapting scientific knowledge to resolve research problems encountered in achieving defined goals with assistance from line manager or other team members to meet internal and project deadlines.
• Preparing reports of findings, presenting data, and collaborating with other scientists at Evotec.
• Presenting own work at project technical meetings when required.
• Reading scientific literature relevant to the project.
• At the end of the placement you will prepare dissertation and defend it to earn academic qualification MSc by Research awarded by University of Hertfordshire.

If you feel that your skills and experience match what we are looking for, please apply by submitting your covering letter, CV and copy of the transcripts for the latest qualification to Prof. Mire Zloh (). Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed. Successful candidates will apply for the MSc by Research course and be responsible for paying the tuition fees to the University of Hertfordshire. Registered students will have an industrial placement at Evotec’s premises in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, UK, the duration of the placement will be between six months to one year, depending on the visa status. Registered students that are accepted for the placement will be considered for the Evotec sponsored bursary of £5,000 per annum each.

Closing date for the applications: Open until positions are filled.

Further Information

For the further information about the course, tuition and bench fees visit the University of Hertfordshire web page (http://www.herts.ac.uk/courses/research-degrees-pharmacy and http://www.herts.ac.uk/apply/fees-and-funding/research-degrees ). For further informal enquires about MSc by Research course contact Prof. Mire Zloh ().

Visit the MSc by Research in Computational Medicinal Chemistry with Industrial Placement page on the University of Hertfordshire website for more details!

Entry Requirements

An honours degree (normally at least 2:1 or above) in an appropriate discipline. IELTS entry requirement is normally 6.5, TOEFL 550 (213 CBT) or equivalent for overseas students.

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Recipient: University of Hertfordshire
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