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Development of targeted drug nanosystems using variable new antigen receptors (VNARs)

Project Description

This studentship will work on a collaboration with the Scott Group at the CCRCB and Elasmogen Ltd., Aberdeen. The focus on the project will be the development of new targeted nanomedicines for the treatment of cancer. The Scott group within the CCRCB have a track record in the development of nanoparticle-based formulations of chemotherapy for the treatment of aggressive and difficult to treat tumours. Elasmogen have a proprietary technology based on the development of shark-based antibodies known as Variable New Antigen Receptors (vNARs) and in this project we will develop nanomedicines, exploiting the targeting ability of vNARs to enhance delivery of payload chemotherapy to tumours.

This exciting project will be an exemplary training opportunity for the successful student. The project will bring together training in molecular and cellular biology, biochemistry, pharmaceutics and oncology. To combine these skills in a PhD programme will provide a superb CV for the candidate upon completion of their PhD. In addition to the world class facilities at the CCRCB, the student will undertake a placement at Elasmogen to further training in VNAR biology, synthetic library generation, screening and protein characterisation.


Candidates should have or expect to obtain a 2:1 or higher Honours degree or equivalent in a relevant biomedical or life sciences subject.

English Language

Candidates applying from countries where the first language is not English should produce evidence of their competence through a qualification such as IELTS or TOEFL score.

The minimum recommended score for the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Science is:
• IELTS score of 6.0 with not less than 5.5 in each of the four component elements of listening, reading, speaking and writing taken within the last 2 years;
• TOEFL score of 80+ (internet basted test), taken within the last 2 years, with minimum component scores of; Listening 17, Reading 18, Speaking 20, Writing 17);
• A valid Certificate of Proficiency in English grade A or B;
• A valid Certificate of Advanced English grade A; or
• A first or upper second class honours degree from a university based in the UK, Republic of Ireland or other suitably quality assured location in a country deemed by the UK Border Agency to be majority English speaking.

For a list of English Language qualifications also accepted by the School and University please see the following link:

The English Language Unit (ELU) offers both pre-sessional and in-sessional courses in English for academic purposes and study skills. Courses vary in length and full information can be obtained from the ELU

Funding Notes

*FUNDING CONFIRMED – Department for the Economy (DfE) & Elasmogen Ltd*

Eligibility for both fees (£4,327 for 2019/20) and maintenance (£15,009 for 2019/20) depends on the applicants being either an ordinary UK resident or those EU residents who have lived permanently in the UK for the 3 years immediately preceding the start of the studentship.

Non UK residents who hold EU residency may also apply but if successful may receive fees only.

For further details re eligibility criteria (including academic, citizenship and residency criteria) please click on the following link: View Website


Please visit the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology, website for further details about the Centre:

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