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Coventry University Featured PhD Programmes

Development of lipid-based nanocarriers using melt extrusion for oral peptide delivery


School of Pharmacy

About the Project

Peptide-based drugs are an important class of medicine used for the treatment of many relevant disorders. However, their delicate physicochemical characteristics, poor membrane permeability and harsh conditions along the gastro-intestinal tract pose hurdles in providing effective therapy. Consequently, peptide drugs are typically administered parenterally with long-term repeated dosing, which brings great inconvenience to patients. Therefore, the development of oral peptide drugs is of great research interest.

The proposed PhD project will focus on the development of a peptide-friendly approach for the preparation of nanostructured lipid carriers (NLC) using hot melt-extrusion. Lipid-based nanoparticles are an exciting carrier system that can protect peptides along the GI tract, enhance their transmucosal transport and provide controlled drug delivery. Lipid-based nanoparticles are often prepared by melt extrusion, which is a promising encapsulation method for biomacromolecules. The scientific approach of this project is therefore to develop lipid nanoparticles using biologically relevant processing conditions so that peptide structural integrity is conserved. Developed peptide-encapsulated NLCs will be characterized and peptide encapsulation efficiency, stability and therapeutic efficacy will be evaluated in vitro and in vivo. The successful candidate will be a part of a highly interdisciplinary project and have the opportunity to learn about nanoparticle synthesis, peptide formulation, biological testing and continuous manufacturing.

Funding Notes

Applicants should have a 1st or 2.1 honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject. Relevant subjects include Pharmacy, Molecular Biology, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Biochemistry, Biological/Biomedical Sciences, Chemistry, Engineering, or a closely related discipline. Students who have a 2.2 honours degree and a Master’s degree may also be considered, but the School reserves the right to shortlist for interview only those applicants who have demonstrated high academic attainment to date.

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