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Determining the impact of long-term exposure to medical technologies, and their by-products

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  • Full or part time
    Dr N Liptrott
    Dr M Siccardi
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Nanotechnology offers the possibility of developing new medical technologies for the diagnosis and treatment of a number of diseases and conditions. Using nanotechnology, it is possible to create nanomaterials that can be used to deliver drugs or cellular therapies or reduce interactions with the immune system in sues such as stents and sutures.

There is a growing body of evidence that nanomaterials interact with immunological, and haematological, systems and these interactions may raise issues around the biocompatibility of these materials. In addition to safety, these interactions may also impact on how long these materials may remain in place, thereby affecting their clinical utility. However, little attention is given to the possible breakdown, or by-products, of longer term exposure to these medical technologies. Many safety assessments are carried out on “pristine” nanomaterials as opposed to those that have been exposed to cells, or biological matrices, that may have degraded them or otherwise altered their physicochemical properties.

The aim of this PhD studentship is to investigate the interactions of nano-enabled medical technologies with components of the human immune and haematological systems with a particular emphasis on materials following long-term exposure to biological matrices. This knowledge will aid in our understanding of the relationship between nanomaterial characteristics, cellular and physiological events and the, long-term, compatibility of nano-enabled medical technologies. Additionally, it is expected that additional/novel techniques will be developed by the student over the course of the project in order to fully investigate these biological interactions. Training will be given in the isolation of primary immune cells, modern immunological/haematological techniques as well as assays aimed at investigating cellular health.

This studentship is part of a larger European Commission funded initiative, the SAFE-N-MEDTECH consortium, which is a European H2020 NMBP (Nanotechnologies, Advanced Materials, Biotechnology and Advanced Manufacturing and Processing) project involving researchers from the University of Liverpool in addition to 27 other organisations around Europe. The student will join a multidisciplinary team with a wide range of expertise including Pharmacology, Immunology, and Computational Modelling and will be expected to fully engage in many aspects of the overall project.

Qualifications and Experience
You should have, or expect to hold, a degree in Pharmacology or a related discipline. A postgraduate qualification, such as Masters, is desirable. This project would be particularly suitable for students with a background in Pharmacology, Immunology, Biochemistry, Biology, or Drug Delivery.

*Please note the English Language Requirement for EU Students is an IELTS score of 6.5 with no band score lower than 5.5.

To apply please send CV, a letter of motivation and the names of two referees who can send letters of recommendation to Dr. Neill Liptrott ([Email Address Removed])

For application enquires please contact Dr Neill Liptrott ([Email Address Removed])

Funding Notes

This is a 36 month, fully-funded, project. The project will pay a stipend of £15,009 per annum. Tuition fees will be covered at Home/EU rate. As such applications are invited from Home/EU applicants only.


David, C. A., A. Owen and N. J. Liptrott (2016). "Determining the relationship between nanoparticle characteristics and immunotoxicity: key challenges and approaches." Nanomedicine (Lond) 11(11): 1447-1464.
Liptrott, N. J., M. Giardiello, J. W. Hunter, L. Tatham, L. R. Tidbury, M. Siccardi, S. Rannard and A. Owen (2015). "Flow cytometric analysis of the physical and protein-binding characteristics of solid drug nanoparticle suspensions." Nanomedicine (Lond) 10(9): 1407-1421.
Liptrott, N. J., M. Giardiello, T. O. McDonald, S. P. Rannard and A. Owen (2017). "Lack of interaction of lopinavir solid drug nanoparticles with cells of the immune system." Nanomedicine (Lond) 12(17): 2043-2054.
Liptrott, N. J., M. Giardiello, T. O. McDonald, S. P. Rannard and A. Owen (2018). "Assessment of interactions of efavirenz solid drug nanoparticles with human immunological and haematological systems." J Nanobiotechnology 16(1): 22.
Liptrott, N. J., E. Kendall, D. J. Nieves, J. Farrell, S. Rannard, D. G. Fernig and A. Owen (2014). "Partial mitigation of gold nanoparticle interactions with human lymphocytes by surface functionalization with a 'mixed matrix'." Nanomedicine (Lond) 9(16): 2467-2479.
Halamoda-Kenzaoui, B., S. Baconnier, T. Bastogne, D. Bazile, P. Boisseau, G. Borchard, S. E. Borgos, L. Calzolai, K. Cederbrant, G. Di Felice, T. Di Francesco, M. A. Dobrovolskaia, R. Gaspar, B. Gracia, V. A. Hackley, L. Leyens, N. Liptrott, M. Park, A. Patri, G. Roebben, M. Roesslein, R. Thurmer, P. Urban, V. Zuang and S. Bremer-Hoffmann (2019). "Bridging communities in the field of nanomedicine." Regul Toxicol Pharmacol 106: 187-196.

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