Exploring bacterial enzymes as new targets for treating infectious disease

PhD Scholarship in Synthetic Biology

Applicants are invited to apply for a fully funded three-year PhD scholarship to explore the molecular mechanisms and inhibition of essential bacterial biosynthetic enzymes.

The Ferrier Institute has established a world-class reputation in nature-inspired synthetic carbohydrate chemistry and analysis and has extended its expertise into the areas of synthetic and chemical biology, chemical immunology, and natural product isolation. We investigate issues related to our health, wellbeing, and the sustainability of our environment. More about the research undertaken at the Ferrier Research Institute can be found here.

Project outline

Exploring bacterial enzymes as new targets for treating infectious disease

In this project, under the supervision of Professor Emily J Parker, we will use a variety of chemical, biochemical and biophysical techniques to examine how regulated enzyme catalysis works and to design inhibitors that specifically target both active and allosteric sites of key bacterial enzymes from important human pathogens.

The PhD scholar will contribute to the project by carrying out studies on protein structure and function and analysing and manipulating enzymatic reaction chemistry. The ideal candidate will have some understanding of protein structure and function.


This position will carry an annual stipend of $35,000 per annum for 3 years and cover full student fees and levies.

Funding Notes

The Institute is split between Gracefield in Lower Hutt and Kelburn in central Wellington, New Zealand and so the PhD candidate must be in New Zealand or able to get across the border to New Zealand to carry out this study. The applicant must be eligible for admission to the PhD programme at Victoria University of Wellington. A GPA of 7.5 or greater (on a 9 point scale), first class honours or Master’s grade and demonstration of proficiency in English are essential.

Contacts and next steps

Please apply to our Postgraduate Coordinator Dr Alison Daines ferrierPGC@vuw.ac.nz. When applying please ensure all required documents are attached:
* All degree certificates and transcripts (undergraduate AND postgraduate MSc—officially translated into English where necessary)
* Detailed CV
* Details of 2 academic referees

* A statement of your research interests

Selection process

The successful recipient will be selected by the Ferrier Research Institute Scholarship panel.


The recipient will need to sign a Victoria University of Wellington Research Scholarship contract and a confidentiality agreement