Ph.D. Studentships Available in the Martin Lab

DTP Logo

Analysis and prediction of antibody stability



Dr Andrew C R Martin, Institute of Structural and Molecular Biology, University College London

Dr Kerry Tyson, UCB Celltech

Project Details

50% of the top 10 grossing drugs in 2014 were antibodies making them one of the most important classes of pharmaceuticals. Ensuring high stability is important for improving shelf-life, avoiding cold-chain storage, avoiding aggregation and crucially for reducing immunogenicity. Our goal is improve the biophysical characteristics of antibodies and remove unsuitable lead molecules early in the development pipeline. The project will exploit high-throughput methods recently developed by UCB for generating paired antibody heavy and light chains from natural sources with small-scale biophysical analyses (e.g. thermal stability, hydrophobicity and surface charge). After spending months at UCB to collect data for at least 1000 antibodies, machine-learning and data-mining approaches will be developed to analyze these data and develop a stability predictor. A return visit to UCB will allow the evaluation of mutations expected to improve stability.

The studentship is funded for four years, starting October 2016. The Martin Group in the UCL Institute of Structural and Molecular Biology (ISMB) participates in several Centres in computational biology at UCL and the work will be carried out in close collaboration with scientists at UCB. The student will benefit from the interdisciplinary nature of the ISMB as well as excellent computing facilities in the group and access to the UCL high performance Legion compute farm with over 5660 cores.

Full details are available here.

Eligibility and Application

This four-year studentship is funded jointly by UCB Celltech and the BBSRC London Interdisciplinary PhD Programme. It covers UK/EU tuition fees and an annual tax-free stipend in the region £16,057 (exact amount confirmed each year) plus an additional tax free stipend from UCB of £4,000 p.a.

Applications should be made via the LIDo Web Site - 'APPLY FOR INDUSTRIAL CASE STUDENTSHIPS'. The closing date is Friday 22nd January at 5pm. Late applications, or those still incomplete at this deadline, will not be accepted. Interviews will be offered in the week commencing 22nd February 2016.

Applications will be considered from individuals with a background in life sciences or physical science (chemistry, mathematics, physics, computer science), though the equivalent of a first or upper second-class degree is essential. A postgraduate degree in a relevant subject would be desirable, as would basic molecular biology skills, experience of computer programming (e.g. C++, Python, R, but particularly Perl and C) and a demonstrable interest in development of antibody-based drugs.

For more information regarding the project, please contact Dr Andrew Martin ().

For more information about the programme, eligibility or the application process please contact the programme administrator ().