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PhD Studentship - Delivery of advanced therapeutic nanoparticles in cells using radical new techniques

Quantum, Light & Matter Group

Location:  Highfield Campus
Closing Date:  Monday 31 August 2020
Reference:  1207819WF

Supervisor:     Prof. Antonios Kanaras            

Project description

PhD studentship in the LICNA group (www.licn.phys.soton.ac.uk). 

Aim:

One of the major obstacles for the delivery of advanced types of nanoparticulate systems in cells is that once taken up by cells they remain inactive because they cannot escape from the cellular endosomes-one of cell’s defence mechanisms. This PhD studentship aims to investigate new directions of enabling smart nanoparticulate systems in cells to be effectively delivered in cell’s cytosol using a variety of new techniques.

Background: 

Nanoparticles have emerged as an ideal platform for imaging, sensing, drug delivery and therapy in biomedicine. On one hand, the surface of nanoparticles can be functionalized with various types of functional molecules, which provides the nanoparticles with multi-tasking ability and on the other hand the packing of functional molecules in a confined space around the nanoparticle core provides higher reactivity of nanoparticles at their local microenvironment, which influences the mechanisms of action. Moreover a particular chemical composition of the nanoparticle core offers additional optical, magnetic, thermal and electronic properties. Combining the above, one is able to tailor the design of nanoparticulate systems that can perform advanced tasks. For example, recently our group was able to synthesize nanoparticles able to release drugs only in the presence of specific cellular mRNAs signatures, which resulted in the selective killing of cancerous cells as opposed to healthy cells (ACS Nano, 2018, 12 (4), 3333–3340, Nanoscale 2016,8 (38), 16857-16861). However a major obstacle of effectively and practically utilising nanoparticles for therapy is that most of the particle dose delivered in cells remains confined and inactive in endosomes-the cell’s defence mechanism. 

The successful candidate will explore ways of delivering therapeutic nanoparticles directly in the cytosol using radical new strategies. 

The successful applicant will gain multidisciplinary expertise across the areas of chemistry, physics and biology utilizing a broad range of characterization techniques.

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Prof. Antonios Kanaras, QLM Research Group, Email: a.kanaras@soton.ac.uk Tel: +44 (0) 2380 59 2466.

Entry Requirements

A very good undergraduate degree (at least a UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent).

Closing date: applications should be received no later than 31 August 2020 for standard admissions, but later applications may be considered depending on the funds remaining in place.

Funding: full tuition plus, for UK students, an enhanced stipend of £15,009 tax-free per annum for up to 3.5 years. 

How To Apply

Applications should be made online here selecting “PhD Physics (Full time)” as the programme. Please enter Prof. Antonios Kanaras under the proposed supervisor.

Applications should include

Research Proposal (optional)

Curriculum Vitae

Two reference letters

Degree Transcripts to date

Apply online: https://www.southampton.ac.uk/courses/how-to-apply/postgraduate-applications.page

For further information please contact: feps-pgr-apply@soton.ac.uk 

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