PhD in RNA therapeutics (chemistry) as part of the OLIGOMED consortium. 


PhD Summary

  • PhD in RNA therapeutics

  • Part of the European Training Network OLIGOMED (956070) Project: "Oligonucleotides for Medicinal Applications"

  • Start Date: June 2021

Project description


Sixfold Bioscience Ltd. is seeking to recruit an Early Stage Research (ESR) Fellow. The successful candidate will be researching key topics in the use of synthetic oligonucleotides (ONs) for medical applications leading to submission of their PhD thesis after 3 years. A successful thesis will receive the PhD degree in Chemistry from the University of Southampton.


The aim of this ESR PhD project will be the improvement of Sixfold’s technology for the in vivo delivery of ONs. Following the synthesis and incorporating modified nucleotides with predicted biological functions, the student will evaluate the effects on physicochemical properties (e.g half-life, assembly yield, charge) and biological activity in vitro and in vivo. Within the project the student will work embedded within the multidisciplinary team at Sixfold who will provide him/her with the required training.


During secondments in partner organizations the student will extend their knowledge on the multidisciplinary fields of phosphoramidite chemistry, oligonucleotide synthesis and clinical research.


More information on the OligoMed program can be found here: 

For more information on Sixfold: 


About Sixfold


We founded Sixfold to tackle the biggest challenge in healthcare: how to safely deliver therapeutics to diseased cells. Motivated by the impact our technology could make, we’ve been working hard in the lab and are now looking for a PhD student to help modulate the biological activity of our PODS technology. We’re proud of the company we’ve built and our team is Sixfold’s biggest competitive advantage. Our team is creative and iterates fast because they want to see their work make a difference in the clinic. If you want to help cure the incurable, you belong with us.


The PhD


Benefits of the Sixfold OLIGOMED ESRs come with a number of benefits:

  • A thorough scientific education in the frame of a doctoral training program.

  • The possibility to participate in specific international courses, workshops and conferences.

  • A strong involvement in a European research project with high international visibility.

  • The possibility to perform research visits to internationally renowned research labs in Europe.

  • A prestigious three-year MSCA Fellowship.

  • A competitive salary including mobility and family allowances.


PhD Title: Next-generation Programmable Oligonucleotide Delivery Systems

Host institution: Sixfold Bioscience Ltd., London, United Kingdom


Supervisor: Dr. Anna Perdrix Rosell


Co-Supervisors: Prof. Annemieke Madder, Department of Organic and Macromolecular Chemistry, University of Gent, Belgium (Academic);  Dr. Sean Lim, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, United Kingdom (Clinician); Prof. Eugen Stulz, School of Chemistry, University of Southampton, UK


You will be enrolled at the University of Southampton in the program "Distance Learning PhD".



This project is carried out in strong collaboration with the following groups, and visits to their laboratories is expected during the project. A willingness to travel and spend time abroad is therefore essential:


  • Prof. Annemieke Madder, University of Gent, Belgium

  • Dr. Sean Lim, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, UK


Diversity and inclusion


It’s important to mention that although disease affects us all, our industry still displays a huge lack of diversity — this needs to change. Our founding team is composed of many different nationalities, cultures and our board is 2/3rds female. Our goal is to create a company culture that promotes ideas and the inclusion of team members from all backgrounds. That means we have no judgement when it comes to any one of the things that make you who you are — your gender, race, sexuality, religion or your secret aversion to cucumber water. We actively encourage members of disadvantaged, minority and underrepresented groups to apply.


Required Skills


Research experience (e.g. through Master thesis work or research internships) in biochemistry or chemistry are required. Basic knowledge in oligonucleotide chemistry and/or cellular and molecular biology techniques are welcome.


Your Master’s degree must be in Biochemistry, Chemistry, Biotechnology or related field.

Proficiency in the English language is required, as well as good communication skills, both oral and written.


  • Early-Stage Researchers must, at the time of recruitment, hold a Master’s degree and be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research careers and have not yet been awarded a doctoral degree.

  • The Master’s degree must be in biochemistry, chemistry, or equivilent scientific discipline.

  • At the time of recruitment researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc) in the country where they are applying for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the reference date.

  • Proficiency in the English language is required, as well as good communication skills, both oral and written. Successful candidates will need to provide an English test (e.g. IELTS, TOEFL, Cambridge English). You may be exempt if you are a national of a majority native-English speaking country, or have qualifications / degree that has been taught and assessed in English.




Please complete both step 1 AND step 2. Any questions, please contact:


Step 1: Fill out this form

Application form: 


Step 2: After completion of the form

After submission of the form, you need to submit the following documents to the email. 


  1. A certificate of University examinations taken (with marks).

  2. A final degree certificate translated in English. If, at the time of application, candidates should not be yet in possession of a degree certificate, they can submit it at the time of the examination.

  3. Up to two recommendation letters.

  4. If available, a document detailing an English Test from an internationally recognised provider.


Key Dates

  1. 28/02/2021: Deadline for on-line application

  2. Week 1 of March 2021: Circulation of candidates

  3. Week 2 of March 2021: Interview (organised individually)

  4. Weeks 2 and 3 of March 2021: Candidates confirmed as soon as possible after interview

  5. 01/06/2021: Targeting start date for ESR contracts


Recruitment procedure

  • All applications received by the deadline will be checked for eligibility against the general criteria set out above. If an application is deemed not eligible, the candidate will be informed as soon as possible.

  • A Committee comprising OLIGOMED members will assign the candidates to Selection Committees (ESR specific Panel) according to their choices; the Selection Committees will have at least two members from within OLIGOMED (PIs) and - where required - including staff from the potential host institution.

  • The selected candidates will be interviewed on-line by the Panel. Exact dates and times will be arranged within each Panel; candidates should ensure that they are available in the week commencing 8 March 2021.

  • The recruitment team will ensure a centralised, transparent and efficient recruitment process that adheres to the European Charter and Code for Researchers.

  • The candidates will be informed of the interview outcome by email as soon as possible after the interview date. Successful candidates will have to send a formal email notifying acceptance or rejection.