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Cambridge Biosciences DTP PhD Programme


Department of Chemistry

Research theme: Bioscience for an integrated understanding of health


I am originally from a small seaside town on the west coast of Scotland. Upon leaving high school I went to study in an east coast seaside town, at the University of St Andrews. Whilst in St Andrews I studied for an MChem in Chemistry with medicinal chemistry which I completed in 2019. I had great some opportunities and spent a placement year working in Germany at BASF. After all my experiences at undergraduate I realised I would like to use my training in chemistry and apply it to biological systems. With this in mind, I came to Cambridge to pursue a PhD in chemical biology where I use chemistry to probe biological questions every day. Having been lucky enough to grow up in the countryside, I love everything outdoors related and I take part in all forms of endurance sports in my spare time. I am definitely at my happiest when lost in the hills and will often be found escaping the flatlands of Cambridgeshire to go hiking,  running or cycling whenever I can get a chance. 


Project Title:

Development of homobifunctional chemical linkers for the generation of bivalent and bispecific antibody constructs

Project Summary:

The ability of antibodies to bind almost any biological target with high specificity and avidity has resulted in antibody-based therapeutics becoming an essential tool in modern medicine. However, traditional antibody therapeutics are monospecific and there remains scope for broadening their therapeutic impact. This can be achieved by generating non-natural bispecific antibodies which can bind two separate antigens. Bispecific antibodies allow for the multifactorial nature of diseases to be targeted, enhancing their therapeutic effect. The expression of fusion protein constructs can be challenging for a variety of reasons, including the necessity for N- to C-terminal fusion, which can lead to decreased biological activity of the fusion construct. Expression of fusion bsAb constructs is also marred by poor yields, incorrect folding, and instability of the conjugates with concomitant detrimental effects on biological activity. A generalised chemical linking strategy could help to generate dimeric constructs in a rapid, consistent manner from the corresponding monomers without the need to express a peptide linked fusion protein, a process that may require optimisation for individual constructs. My research focuses on producing dimeric constructs using a chemical linking strategy to allow modular construction of bivalent antibodies targeting a variety of disease related antigens. It is hoped that the constructs generated will give us an insight into the molecular basis of conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.


Key publications: 

1. A Structural Ensemble of a Tau-Microtubule Complex Reveals Regulatory Tau Phosphorylation and Acetylation Mechanisms

Z. Faidon Brotzakis, Philip R. Lindstedt, Ross Taylor, Gonçalo J. L. Bernardes, Michele Vendruscolo
bioRxiv 2020.11.10.376285. DOI:

2. Facile Installation of Post-translational Modifications on the Tau Protein via Chemical Mutagenesis

Philip R. Lindstedt, Ross J. Taylor, Gonçalo J. L. Bernardes, and Michele Vendruscolo
ACS Chemical Neuroscience 2021 12 (3), 557-561
DOI: 10.1021/acschemneuro.0c00761

Teaching and Supervisions

Research supervision: 

Professor Gonçalo Bernardes

Staff Photo

Contact Details

Job Titles

PhD Student