EPSRC DTA Studentship Water-soluble endohedral fullerenes for medicinal applications

Supervisor: Dr K. Porfyrakis

Endohedral fullerenes are molecules, which contain one or more atoms or atomic clusters in their interior. The presence of the incarcerated atoms alters the electronic structure of the fullerene cage and leads to outstanding electronic properties of the molecule. The magnetic properties of endohedral fullerenes make them useful for many medical applications such as MRI contrast agents and sensors for spin active molecules. Because of their long relaxation times and their sharp lines in the electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectra, endohedral fullerenes could be used to probe other paramagnetic species in their vicinity. Hence they can be used as effective spin probes. Another set of criteria those spin probes must fulfill are: they must be water-soluble and they must be of appropriate size and structure as to be cell-permeable. Endohedral fullerenes are excellent choices on this occasion. Fullerene molecules are not readily water-soluble. However they can be chemically functionalized to acquire water solubility. This project will involve applying reaction schemes such as the Bingel and Prato reaction protocols to endohedral fullerenes for the synthesis of water-soluble adducts. These adducts are also small enough to permeate cell membranes. Since both of these criteria can be fulfilled, there is every chance for success in this effort, which will be a fantastic scientific achievement. The project will built on ongoing collaborations between our group and other research laboratories. Hence there will be a possibility for international travel and work.

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Candidates are considered in the January 2014 admissions cycle which has an application deadline of 24 January 2014. Due to funding restrictions this 3.5 year EPSRC DTA studentship will provide full fees and maintenance for a citizen of the UK or for a citizen of the EU who has spent the previous three years (or more) in the UK undertaking undergraduate study. The stipend is expected to be at least £13,726 per year. Other EU citizens should read the guidance at http://www.materials.ox.ac.uk/admissions/postgraduate/eu.html for further information about eligibility.

Any questions concerning the project can be addressed to Dr Kyriakos Porfyrakis (kyriakos.porfyrakis@materials.ox.ac.uk). General enquiries on how to apply can be made by e-mail to graduate.studies@materials.ox.ac.uk. You must complete the standard Oxford University Application for Graduate Studies and further information and an electronic copy of the application form can be found via the ‘Apply’ button below.

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