Amit Sachdeva


  • 3.50 Chemistry

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

We have two PhD projects available in the lab. These projects aim at: 1) Development of light-responsive antibodies for next generation therapeutics, and 2) Development of ultrafast diagnostics for viral infections.

Personal profile


We are always looking for candidates to join our group for PhD or Postdoctoral work. Please contact Amit Sachdeva ( directly to express your interest.

Amit Sachdeva is the Director of Postgraduate Research in Chemistry at UEA. His research interests are in the area of Chemical Biology and Synthetic Biology. Amit completed his PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he was involved in identification of DNA-based enzymes with potential for biomedical and diagnostic applications. He then moved to Cambridge for postdoctoral work at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology. Here, he was involved in developing methods to enable synthesis of proteins containing multiple non-natural amino acids in live cells.

At the University of East Anglia, Amit’s research group is interested in developing novel therapeutics and diagnostics. His laboratory developed photoactive antibodies and demonstrated for the first time that it is possible to control antibody-antigen binding using light by site-specific installation of a single photocaged amino acid in the antigen binding region of an antibody (Angewandte Chemie, 2019; Patent, 2020). Amit’s laboratory has also developed high affinity photoreactive antibody fragments. Small antibody fragments currently proposed for use in cancer therapy can diffuse much deeper into the tissues, presenting an excellent alternative to full-length antibodies. However, small antibody fragments have a low residence time in the body and often have a higher rate of dissociation from the target compared to full length antibodies, limiting their clinical utility. To address this challenge, Amit’s research group have developed antibody fragments that can form a covalent bond with their target antigen upon irradiation with light. Subsequently, they have also engineered antibody fragments that can be concurrently activated and form a covalent bond with their target antigen (Nature Chemical Biology, 2023; Patent, 2022). Currently, Amit’s research group is focusing efforts on developing methods to genetically encode novel non-natural amino acids that would provide access to other medically important proteins.

Selected publications

T. Bridge, U. Wegmann, J.C. Crack, K. Orman, S.A. Shaikh, W. Farndon, C. Martins, G. Saalbach & A. Sachdeva* (2023) 
Site-specific encoding of photoactivity and photoreactivity into antibody fragments.
Nature Chemical Biology.

Research work highlighted in The Independent, Healthcare in Europe and Radio
As of December 2023, this article is in the 99th percentile (ranked 258th) of the 413,295 tracked articles of a similar age in all journals and the 99th percentile (ranked 1st) of the 81 tracked articles of a similar age in Nature Chemical Biology. 

A. Sachdeva & T. Bridge (2020) 
Photoactive antibodies - Patent WO-2020193981-A1 - PubChem (

Z. Cheng, E. Kuru, A. Sachdeva & M. Vendrell (2020)
Fluorescent amino acids as versatile building blocks for chemical biology.
Nature Reviews Chemistry, 4, 275.

T. Bridge, S.A. Shaikh, P. Thomas, J. Botta, P.J. McCormick & A. Sachdeva (2019)
Site‐Specific Encoding of Photoactivity in Antibodies Enables Light‐Mediated Antibody–Antigen Binding on Live Cells.
Angewandte Chemie Int. Ed., 58,17986.

D.T. Rogerson, A. Sachdeva, K. Wang, T. Haq, A. Kazlauskaite, S.M. Hancock, N. Huguenin-Dezot, M.M.K. Muqit, A.M. Fry, R. Bayliss and and J.W. Chin. (2015)
Efficient genetic encoding of phosphoserine and its non-hydrolyzable analog.
Nature Chemical Biology, 11, 496-503.

A. Sachdeva, K. Wang, T.S. Elliott and and J.W. Chin. (2014)
Concerted, rapid, quantitative and site-specific dual labeling of protein.
Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS), 2014, 136, 7785-7788.

K. Wang*, A. Sachdeva*, D.J. Cox, N.W. Wilf, K. Lang, S. Wallace R.A. Mehl and J.W. Chin. (2014)
Optimized orthogonal translation of unnatural amino acids enables spontaneous protein double labelling and FRET.
Nature Chemistry, 2014, 6, 393-403. (*=equal contributions)


Key Research Interests

Nature elegantly orchestrates complex chemical and physical transformations to accomplish functions as diverse as transmitting information across generations to harvesting energy from sunlight. These natural processes are achieved by the limited chemical functionality available to biology. Expanding the repertoire of chemical functional groups available to biology can lead to development of new biological systems with potential applications in biotechnology, biofuels and medicine. The focus of our current research work is in developing methods to enable genetic incorporation of structurally diverse non-natural amino acids into proteins and also, to employ these non-natural amino acids to create novel proteins that can be used in medicine.

If you are interested in a postdoctoral position in our laboratory, please email me directly. We are very interested in potential postdocs with a strong background in cell biology, synthetic biology or chemical biology. Applicants are encouraged to look for funding sources, including Wellcome Trust Postdoctoral FellowshipMarie Curie FellowshipsNewton Fellowship.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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