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Development of Inhaled Therapeutic Polymeric Nanoparticles for the Treatment of Respiratory Infections

   School of Engineering

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  Prof Raechelle D'Sa, Dr D Ferreira  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Respiratory infectious diseases are the leading cause of death in the developing countries and the third leading cause of death world-wide. Novel viral outbreaks (COVID-19, SARS, MERS) have been occurring increasing frequency and pose a significant challenge for human health and global economies. The emergence of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) highlighted the lack of treatment options available to mitigate these infections. Moreover, COVID19 has been associated with secondary bacterial infections which can increase the severity and mortality of the disease. As a result, the use of antibiotics has dramatically increased during the pandemic which has led to an upsurge of multi drug resistant (MDR) bacteria. The rising number of MDR bacteria and our decreasing capacity to fight off infections make us especially vulnerable during large scale viral outbreaks. Therefore, it is both urgently and vitally important to accelerate the development of therapeutic solutions for mitigation and rapid response.

The aim of this PhD will be to use an integrative approach to treating respiratory infections by developing scaleable nanoparticle formulations of alterative antimicrobial agents. The advantages of using an inhaled nanomedicine delivery method is for better disease targeting, longer efficacy and reduced side effects. 

This is a highly interdisciplinary project that sits at the interface of materials science, formulation, microbiology/virology and manufacturing. The candidate will join a recently funded ESPRC consortium in developing inhaled therapeutics and will be have the opportunity to interact with all of the partners. The project sits at the interface between the Antimicrobial Biomaterials Group at the School of Engineering, the Clinical Infection group at Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and Aerogen, a leading inhaled drug delivery company. There will be opportunities to spend secondments with the partners 

We are looking for candidates with an enthusiasm for research, multidisciplinary collaboration and tackling challenging problems through teamwork. Any previous experience with polymer/materials chemistry would be desired. Microbiology skills will be taught.

Applicant Eligibility

Candidates will have, or be due to obtain, a Master’s Degree or in an appropriate field of Chemistry, Materials Science, Chemical Engineering, Biomedical Engineering or a closely related discipline. Exceptional candidates with a First Class Bachelor’s Degree in an appropriate field will also be considered. 

Application Process

Candidates wishing to apply should complete the University of Liverpool application form applying for a PhD in Bioengineering and uploading: Degree Certificates & Transcripts, an up to date CV, a covering letter/personal statement and two academic references. 


Candidates wishing to discuss the research project should contact the primary supervisor, Prof. Raechelle D’Sa on: [Email Address Removed], those wishing to discuss the application process should discuss this with the School Postgraduate Office [Email Address Removed]. 

Funding Notes

This Scholarship is for UK [home] students only and has a financial package including: annual stipend at the UKRI rate [currently £15,285 per annum] and tuition fees for 3.5 academic years. The funding has been available from the following endowments of the School of Engineering: Kitchner Fellowship, Munitions Fellowship, Mrs W M Horsman Endowment and Andrew Hamilton Endowment.
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