SUPERVISED BY Dr Pedro Ballester
FUNDING PhD registration fees and a student stipend for three years
CLOSING DATE 24 July 2022
STARTING DATE 1 October 2022
Imperial College London is consistently rated as one of the World’s leading universities (https://www.topuniversities.com/universities/imperial-college-london). In the 2022 REF results, Imperial ranks top in the UK overall, with a greater proportion of 4* “world-leading” research than any other UK university (https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/ref-2021-research-excellence-framework-results-announced). Imperial’s Department of Bioengineering has a strong international profile and hosts approximately 230 PhD students, thus providing a lively, supportive and stimulating environment to carry out a PhD. There is a strong computational and theoretical modelling theme within the department, which also participates in Imperial networks such as the AI Network, the Centre for Drug Discovery Science and the CRUK Convergence Science Centre (https://www.convergencesciencecentre.ac.uk/) between Imperial and the ICR.
Predictive models built with artificial intelligence (AI) methods are powerful tools to discover molecules with the potential to become drugs to treat a given disease. These models can leverage training datasets to identify such drug leads by computational (virtual) screening of massive libraries of molecules. In particular, AI models can be trained on atomic-resolution structures of macromolecular targets and the activities of their cognate molecules to predict the activities of other molecules across targets. Despite important successes, there are major challenges limiting the potential of such AI models. Some are specific to this problem (e.g. how to augment training datasets in a way that improves the performance of these models). Other challenges are also found in other supervised learning problems (e.g. anticipating how well the models performs outside its applicability domain).
This PhD project is funded by the Royal Society (https://royalsociety.org/about-us/history/). It aims at making progress towards overcoming these challenges using both synthetic and real datasets. The successful candidate will join the group of Dr Pedro Ballester at Imperial College and the PhD will be carried out under his direct supervision. These are some relevant papers from the group:
Selection criteria – Essential
Selection criteria – Desirable
What we offer
The studentship covers living expenses at an enhanced rate (tax-free £17,609 per year) plus PhD registration fees (£26,600 per year) for three years, with the possibility of extending it to a 4th year.
This is an exciting opportunity for a bright and motivated scientist to work on a timely and exciting data science problem of great therapeutic importance. The student will join the Ballester group at Imperial’s Department of Bioengineering, which provides an international and stimulating research environment. In terms of personal experience, London has been named the best city in the World to be a university student (https://www.topuniversities.com/city-rankings/2022).
How to apply
Candidates must send an email with their CV, grades for each held university degree and a covering letter (maximum two pages) to email@example.com with subject line “PhD in AI for SBVS”. This letter must explain how they meet the essential selection criteria, which desirable selection criteria are also met and how this position would fit in their future career plans. This email must also state the names and emails of two scientists involved in assessing their academic performance, who are willing to provide a reference. Please also mention in the letter where did you see this position
Tagged as: Chemistry, Computer Science, Life Sciences