Education & Careers //

MWC PhD Scholarship available


The Maurice Wilkins Centre is a Centre of Research Excellence bringing together world leading biomedical researchers from around New Zealand to tackle cancer, diabetes and infectious diseases.

One of our major roles is to train the country’s next generation of leaders in biomedical research. 

There is currently one MWC PhD scholarship available;

The Synthesis of Novel Antiviral Imino-C-Nucleosides

Project Description

A PhD position is available for a New Zealand citizen or resident to join an established team led by Prof Gary Evans from the Ferrier Research Institute, at the Victoria University of Wellington, to work on the synthesis and biological screening of new antivirals.

Viruses are both ubiquitous and extremely diverse, creating a constant threat to global health. New infections from Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Hepatitis B Virus (HBV), and Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) kill more than 3 million people annually. The flavivirus that causes Dengue fever (DENV) infects up to 100 million people each year, leading to 20,000 deaths pa. Global warming means that flaviviridae like DENV, Yellow fever (YFV) and Zika (ZIKV) viruses will move into more temperate climatic zones therefore becoming more prevalent in countries like NZ. The continued discovery and development of new antivirals is paramount for global human health particularly as new pathogens emerge and old ones develop resistance.

The PhD will involve the design and multi-step chemical synthesis of targets using techniques such as anhydrous reaction conditions, column chromatography, NMR, MS and HPLC. Some practical experience of multi-step organic synthesis in a laboratory and an appreciation of good practice health and safety and record keeping are essential. The candidate will receive full training and guidance through all aspects of the project. Collaborators will biologically evaluate synthesised compounds.

The work will be based at the Ferrier Research Institute at Victoria University of Wellington (VUW), Wellington, New Zealand (, supervised by Professor Gary Evans (

The candidate will hold a BSc (Hons) or MSc in organic or medicinal chemistry, synthetic drug discovery or a related discipline with significant practical organic chemistry experience, and will be enthusiastic and passionate about research.

The successful candidate will benefit from membership of a national network of scientists through the Maurice Wilkins Centre, a New Zealand Centre of Research Excellence, and will be eligible to apply for additional support to access specialised training and facilities across New Zealand and to travel overseas to access training and facilities that are not available in New Zealand.

Funding notes

To apply: Please contact the Ferrier Postgraduate Coordinator (via to explain your interest in this project and how this relates to your previous experience. Please include a copy of your CV, academic transcript, and the names of three referees.
A GPA of 7.5 or greater (on a 9 point scale), first class honours grade and demonstration of proficiency in English are essential.

The PhD scholarship is provided by the Maurice Wilkins Centre for Molecular Biodiscovery and pays annual domestic compulsory fees for a maximum of three years, a tax-free stipend of NZ$25,000 per annum for up to three years and working expenses of $42,000.

Discipline/Subjects - Chemical Sciences

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Synthetic Chemistry
  • Medicinal Chemistry