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ESR-8 Computer-aided design, synthesis and evaluation of novel anti-CHKV compounds (CU)

Project description
The aim of this project is to identify a novel series of anti-CHIKV compounds. In particular, we will focus our attention to different viral targets:

  1. The nspP2 is a cysteine-protease essential for viral replication and in our previous studies, we have identified an interesting hit with a ~3µM anti-CHKV activity in a cell-based assay. However, this compound also presents some toxicity (selectivity index of 30).The aim of this part of the project is to use a rational approach to design a second generation of inhibitors, more potent and less toxic than our original hit.
  2. The nsP3 protein is also essential to viral replication and we aim to use a series of computer-aided drug design approaches to identify novel inhibitors of CHKV replication. All the new compounds will biologically evaluated (at the Catholic University of Leuven) and the data will be used to feedback the in silico model in an iterative optimisation process.

The Network
This PhD position is part of the European training network ANTIVIRALS ( The candidate will benefit from the ANTIVIRALS network, which includes regular (scientific) network meetings and training in research methodology and complementary skills. This research project offers unique opportunities for establishing a broad and international scientific network with partners from the academic and industrial sector. The research project is performed in close collaboration with and partly at the premises of other institutions of the ANTIVIRALS network.

Host institute
Cardiff is in the top tier of The UK’s research universities and is a member of the prestigious Russell Group. World-leading research is conducted across every academic school. The University is among the top 5 in the UK in 14 research areas, and the top 10 in a further 11 areas. With a >26,000 student enrolled, it is the 12th largest university in UK. The School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences is one of the UK leading Pharmacy department, both in teaching and research. The School has a strong record of drug discovery and development of novel antiviral and anticancer compounds, with 3 agents currently at different stages of clinical evaluation.

Candidate found. Vacancy is closed.