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Advanced polymeric systems for minimally-invasive sampling of epigenetic and biomarker profiling for periodontal chronic wounds/Chronic wound biofluid sampling and analysis

About This PhD Project

Project Description

In the last 10 years, epigenetic dysfunction has been associated with all major disease areas including infection and chronic wound management. The study of heritable changes in gene expression has become one of the fastest growing sectors of healthcare research and it is estimated that the global epigenetic market is expected to reach $22 Billion USD by 2025, with diagnostic applications across all major disease areas.

This project will look at developing novel diagnostic methods for minimally-invasive fluid sampling, to facilitate miRNA, related biomarkers, and epigenetic profiling in chronic wounds, such as periodontal disease (PD). PD is a common condition affecting the tissue and ligaments surrounding the teeth and is reported to affect >50% of the global population. Untreated, it can lead to gum inflammation, infection, and tooth loss. Small volumes of fluid, called gingival crevicular fluid (GCF) collect in the gaps, called pockets between the teeth and gums. Current GCF sampling techniques, such as micro-capillary pipetting and Perio-Paper® sampling, are not used routinely in practice owing to significant costs, variability in processing, potential for tissue damage, and the disruption of the healing process. Implementation of a non-invasive diagnostic device that could overcome the issues of GCF volume and handling difficulty, will facilitate earlier diagnosis and improved treatment outcomes in PD.

Underlying aim

To design and develop novel polymeric systems for the detection and quantitation of miRNA and biomarkers of inflammation in chronic wounds, such as periodontal disease.

Specific objectives/Methodology

Systematically develop a library of polymeric materials for capture of miRNA & related biomarkers

Fabricate prototype devices with industry scalable techniques e.g. cast manufacture & 3D printing

Establish appropriate physicochemical tests and define target product characteristics

Fully characterise prototype physicochemical characteristics in vitro

Optimise and elucidate absorption/adsorption and desorption processes

Requisite experience

Upper Second Class Honours degree from a UK or ROI HE provider, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University.

Evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.0, with not less than 5.5 in any component, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University is required. *Taken within the last 2 years.

MPharm or MSc, experience of pharmaceutical formulation, analysis or working with medical devices.


Demir, E.F. et al. (2018) Synthesis and characterisation of albumin imprinted polymeric hydrogel membranes for proteomic studies. J Biomat Sci 29(18) 2218-2236

Kinane, D.F., Stathopoulou, P.G. & Papapanou, P.N. (2017) Periodotnal diseases. Nat Rev Dis Primers. 3 (17038)

Aliminana-Pastor, P.J., Boronat-Catala, M. & Mico-Martinez, P. (2019) Epigenetics and periodontics: A systematic review. Med Oral Patol Oral Cir Bucal. 24(5) 1698-4447.

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