Title of the PhD project: Complexes of polytopic ligands with a predictable structure 

Contact person and project supervisor: Prof. Petr Hermann; petrh@natur.cuni.cz

Website of the research group: http://web.natur.cuni.cz/anorchem/koordchem/en

Research group name: Group of Coordination and Bioinorganic Chemistry 

Leader of the research group: Prof. Petr Hermann; petrh@natur.cuni.cz 

Department of Inorganic Chemistry

Project summary 

Modern medicinal imaging techniques such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), nuclear techniques (PET or SPECT) or optical imaging (fluorescence) require contrast agents (CAs, also termed as tracers or probes) to achieve optimum performance. CAs are often based on metal complexes whose physico-chemical properties are tuneable by ligand design. Properties of the CA/tracers can be improved or modulated by introduction of two or more metal ions into one molecule. Surprisingly, this kind of tracers has not been investigated frequently. Therefore, mutual interplay between the metal ions, ligand structure, type of spacer and the final properties of the tracers are not understood. Aim of this project is to contribute to understanding of relation between structures of such metal ion-containing constructs and their properties which are important for molecular imaging probes. 

During the project, di- or polytopic ligands able to bind two or more (the same or different) metal ions will be synthesized. The ligand structure will be designed to bind the metal ions tightly (i.e. macrocyclic ligands will be employed) and to form complexes with a predictable mutual spatial arrangement of the complex units. Influence of the ligand structure and/or the mutual arrangement of the complex units on the final properties of the complexes will be studied. This involves investigation of solution and solid-state structures of the conjugates. In solution, study of mutual spatial position of the complex units, influence of the complex unit on isomerism of the conjugate, change of spectral properties induced by the particular unit will be performed. Methods for selective introduction of metal ions of choice into the complex units will be investigated to provide an access to heterometallic di/polynuclear complexes. The main techniques for the investigation will be spectroscopic methods as multinuclear NMR and absorption/emission spectroscopies. 

The prospective student should be able to work independently. She/he should have a good experience with organic synthesis and related purification techniques. She/he should be well familiar with spectroscopies (as above). Previous experience with any aspect of molecular imaging is welcome but not really necessary. 

We offer a multidisciplinary topic involving organic synthesis (macrocyclic and organophosphorus chemistry), advanced NMR measurements (paramagnetic NMR), utilization of various other spectral methods and possibility to test the prepared compounds in vitro/in vivo in collaborating labs (well-established collaborations in Europe). Our group has a long time experience in this area of chemistry.


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