PhD Positions

Funded PhD Positions: 

How Proteins Bind Unusual DNA Structures

What Other Shapes Can DNA Form in Cells?

Chemical Biology Meets Microbiology to Combat Climate Change

Early Diagnosis of Meningitis using Multiplex Biomarker-Based Detection 

Click here for other current PhD opportunities in Pharmacy. But feel free to email me to discuss projects outside these areas and alternative sources of funding.

Postdoctoral Positions

I am always happy to discuss possibilities for postdoctoral work and collaborations please email me to discuss projects and potential sources of funding.


Zoё graduated with a MChem (Distinction) in Chemistry with Pharmaceutical and Forensic Science from the University of Bradford in 2005. She then moved to the Department of Chemistry at the University of Cambridge to continue her studies towards a PhD in Chemical Biology under the supervision of Shankar Balasubramanian. Her thesis was based on the design, properties and function of small molecule ligands which interact with G-quadruplex DNA. Whilst completing her PhD she was heavily involved with teaching and demonstrating undergraduate students and also STIMULUS, where she helped run after-school Science classes. In 2008 she was awarded the Corporate Associates Prize for Practical Class Demonstration in recognition of "outstanding qualities in the teaching of practical chemistry". After completing her PhD in 2009 she gained further teaching experience within the secondary education sector before taking up a position as Senior Demonstrator in Medicinal Chemistry in the School of Pharmacy at UEA. After gaining some further experience in industry at HFL Sport Science she returned to the School in late 2010 as a junior Lecturer in Chemical Biology. She was promoted to Lecturer in 2014, Senior Lecturer in 2017 and is now an Associate Professor. Zoё is currently on the committee of the Royal Society of Chemistry Nucleic Acids Group (Secretary) and the Chemical Biology and Bio-organic interest group (Treasurer), part of the Royal Society of Chemistry degree accreditation panel, an associate of the Faculty of 1000 and a STEM ambassador. She is a fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC) and the Higher Education Academy (FHEA).

Zoё’s research is focussed at the interface between chemistry and biology and she is particularly interested in drug-nucleic acid interactions and studying alternative DNA structures. She uses many different experimental approaches including organic synthesis, biophysics and molecular biology. Her research has two general themes: switching DNA conformation for uses in nanotechnology and targeting DNA/RNA with small molecule ligands for applications in biology. The work has applications in nanotechnology, chemical biology and development of novel therapeutics for genetic diseases such as cancer, diabetes or fragile X syndrome.

Selected publications:

Identification of multiple genomic DNA sequences which form i-motif structures at neutral pH.

E. P. Wright, J. L. Huppert and Z. A. E. Waller. 
Nucleic Acids Res. 2017, 45, 2951. (Explained on YouTube).

Mitoxantrone and analogues bind and stabilise i-motif forming DNA sequences.

E. P. Wright, H. A. Day, A. M. Ibrahim, J. Kumar, L. J. E. Boswell, C. Huguin, C. E. M. Stevenson, K. Pors and Z. A. E. Waller. 
Sci. Reports., 2016, 6, 39456. (Explained on YouTube).

Control of bacterial nitrate assimilation by stabilization of G-quadruplex DNA.
Z. A. E. Waller, B. J. Pinchbeck, B. Seewoodharry Buguth, T. G. Meadows, D. J. Richardson and A. J. Gates.
Chem. Commun, 2016, 52, 13511. (Explained on YouTube).

Reversible DNA i-motif to hairpin switching induced by copper (II) cations.
H. A. Day, E. P. Wright, C. J. MacDonald, A. J. Gates and Z. A. E. Waller
Chem. Commun., 2015, 51, 14099. (Explained on YouTube).

i-Motif DNA: Structure, stability and targeting with ligands.
H. A. Day, P. Pavlos and Z. A. E. Waller
Bioorg. Med. Chem. 2014, 22, 4407.



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