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Functionalized Biocompatible Block Copolymer Particles and Fibres Produced by Electrospraying/Electrospinning for Biomedical Applications

Project Description

The design of novel biodegradable polymeric nano- and micro- structures containing functional groups is of high importance in the biomedical field, and especially in drug delivery and tissue engineering. Functionalization of polymers with reactive groups is highly desirable, since these groups can be used for attachment of biologically-important molecules on the polymers, such as antibodies, peptides and/or fluorescent dyes. The project will involve the preparation of novel biodegradable functionalized polymeric particles by electrospraying and fibres by electrospinning. Modern polymerisation techniques including reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) polymerisation and ring opening polymerisation (ROP) will be used for the synthesis of a series of biocompatible biodegradable polymers with different functional groups. The student will receive training in various polymer characterisation techniques such as nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, gel permeation chromatography (GPC), dynamic light scattering (DLS) and scanning and transmission electron microscopy (SEM and TEM). The particles and fibres exhibiting favourable structural characteristics will be further assessed for their suitability in attachment of biologically-important molecules and their use in efficient drug delivery (encapsulation and release of anti-cancer drugs) and tissue engineering (attachment of stem cells), respectively.

Funding Notes

Applications are requested from UK students who have a minimum of 2.1 honours degree (or equivalent) in Chemistry, Materials Science, Chemical Engineering, Biomedical Science or a closely related subject and a strong interest and motivation in pursuing research in polymeric biomaterials. A full stipend is available for 3 years (£14,777 per annum) together with the associated fees. The project will be undertaken under the supervision of Dr Efrosyni Themistou and will involve the potential for the successful candidate to work in collaborator laboratories during their research project.

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