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Formulation of osteogenic liposomes inspired by cell-derived vesicles

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, May 31, 2019
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

PhD – Formulation of osteogenic liposomes inspired by cell-derived vesicles
Supervisors: Dr Sophie C Cox (School of Chemical Engineering), Dr Marie-Christine Jones (Pharmacy)

In the last decade, the field of extracellular vesicles (EVs) has rapidly expanded and is constantly unearthing new understanding of the role these nanoparticles play in various biological processes. Within developing bone, vesicles function as vehicles for the delivery of pro-osteogenic factors and initiate early nucleation events necessary for matrix mineralisation. This project will seek to understand the cargo transferred by vesicles that modulate bone regeneration. These mechanisms will then be used as inspiration to formulate synthetic liposomes that may be incorporated into biomaterials to enhance osteogenesis.
This studentship will involve delivering the following tasks for which full training will be given:
1. In-vitro cell culture of osteoblasts and stem cells to produce extracellular vesicles that may then be isolated using ultracentrifugation
2. Characterisation of vesicle size, cargo and lipid content using a range of different techniques
3. Observe the effects of different vesicle dosages on the proliferation and mineralisation of stem cells in-vitro
4. Formulate liposomes containing key vesicle proteins and characterise their physicochemical properties as well as influence of stem cell mineralisation
5. Incorporate optimised liposomes into injectable hydrogel biomaterials to enable localised delivery to bone defects
This PhD is associated with an EPSRC funded New Investigator Award that will also employ a research fellow whom will work closely with the successful candidate. The student will be based within the Healthcare Technologies Institute at the University of Birmingham, which has new multidisciplinary laboratory facilities. They will also spend time utilising equipment with the Schools of Chemical Engineering and Pharmacy.
It is anticipated that this project will result in academic publications, intellectual property and translational potential. Therefore we are looking for a candidate that is highly motivated to conduct world-leading research.
Essential Criteria:
• First degree (2:1 or above) in a relevant scientific or engineering discipline
• Self-driven, enthusiastic and good communicator
• Excellent organisation skills
• Ability to work independently and as part of a team
• Experience of materials formulation
• Training in in-vitro mammalian cell culture
• Knowledge of relevant regulation and translational routes for medical technologies

Funding Notes

UK/EU candidates are eligible for funding for this project. If you would like to make an informal enquiry or apply for this position, please e-mail your CV (max 2-pages) to Dr Sophie Cox at

How good is research at University of Birmingham in Aeronautical, Mechanical, Chemical and Manufacturing Engineering?
Chemical Engineering

FTE Category A staff submitted: 32.50

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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