Continuous manufacturing of nano-assemblies for mRNA based therapies and vaccines

   Department of Chemical Engineering

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  Dr M Dragosavac  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Lipid-based nano-assemblies (LNC) are the key component of the recently developed Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. LNC have addressed key issues for mRNA transfection into target cells by improving the protection of mRNA from degradation in the extracellular compartments, as well as by facilitating cellular uptake and delivery to an appropriate intracellular compartment.

Entrapment of drug molecules with mRNA within the LNC hold tremendous potential for treating various diseases such as cancer, inflammation, and infectious diseases and in subsequent years there will be a huge increase in the number of new vaccines and immunotherapies that will use LNC. However, LNC have manufacturing-associated issues such as a lack of batch-to-batch reproducibility, lack of effective sterilization methods, stability problems, and most importantly, scale-up problems.

This PhD will explore the effects of micromixing in membrane systems to produce bespoke nano-assemblies (cubosomes-hexosomes-liposomes) suitable for mRNA encapsulation. Dialysis/solvent exchange will be added downstream. Suitable drying techniques (e.g. freeze drying) will be investigated to manufacture dry powders suitable for longer storage. Stability and mRNA transfection will be investigated with collaborators at Nottingham University.

Engineering has seen 100% of its research impact rated as 'world-leading' or 'internationally excellent' (REF, 2021)


Primary supervisor: Marijana Dragosavac

Entry requirements for United Kingdom

Applicants should have at least, or expect to achieve, a 2:1 or higher.

How to apply

All applications should be made online and must include a research proposal. Under the programme name, select 'Chemical Engineering'. Please quote the advertised reference number AACME-23-004 in your application.

To avoid delays in processing your application, please ensure that you submit the minimum supporting documents.

Apply now

Engineering (12)

Funding Notes

The studentship is for 3 years and provides a tax-free stipend of £18662 per annum plus tuition fees at the UK rate. Excellent International candidates are eligible for a full international fee waiver however due to UKRI funding rules, no more than 30% of the studentships funded by this grant can be awarded to International candidates.

Where will I study?