This position is to conduct an ERC-funded research project. This exciting project aims to investigate the mechanisms activated by the interaction of cells with nanomaterials and leverage them to control the intracellular fate of the cargo. The work follows up on our research on the biointerface of nanoneedles for drug delivery outlined in Chiappini et al. Nat Mater 2015, Chiappini et al. ACS Nano 2015, Gopal et al. Adv Mater 2019.
Delivering biological agents inside cells in a way that maintains their bioactivity is a major challenge faced by nanomedicine. In particular the delivery of agents such as nucleic acids, peptides and proteins require effective protection from degradation outside the cell together with an accurate targeting to their site of biological action inside the cell, bypassing the endolysosomal system. A vast range of nanomaterials have been developed to address these challenges, including natural and synthetic vesicles, polymer-, metal- and semiconductor-based nanoparticles, multi-stage approaches and more recently nanowires and nanoneedles. In particular it is known that geometry and surface chemistry of nanomaterials are crucial in determining their interaction with cells and the fate of the cargo, but there is still a pressing need to understand how nanomaterials can be designed to leverage specific cellular processes that direct cargo to the cell cytoplasm and nucleus. This project will address these challenges blending nanotechnology, biophotonics techniques and advanced cellular and molecular biology. The Chiappini lab is a highly stimulating multidisciplinary environment focussing on engineering nanomaterials to manipulate cell behaviour. Research in the lab spans across nanomedicine, tissue engineering and biosensing. Researchers in the lab leverage expertise from material science and engineering, cell and molecular biology and biointerface sciences. The lab is located within the Centre for Craniofacial and Regenerative Biology, one of the Centres of Excellence at King’s College London. King’s is a leading international university, member of the Russel Group of UK research-intensive universities. The Faculty of Dentistry, Oral and Craniofacial sciences is recognised as second in the world by QS survey.
Duration of award: 3 years.
Mode of study: Full-time
Start date: 6 January 2020
Stipend for year 1 (academic year 2019/20) = £22,309 Home/EU tuition fees of £5,300 (academic year 2019/20) to be paid by student from stipend amount Bench fees are covered by grant