About the Project
This PhD is a terrific opportunity to join the encapsulation group of Dr Dragosavac https://www.lboro.ac.uk/departments/chemical/staff/marijana-dragosavac/ and collaborate with an industrial partner CRODA https://www.croda.com/en-gb/news/2020/11/pfizer-croda on the manufacturing of smart nanocarriers. Liposomes and nanoparticles have manufacturing-associated issues such as batch-to-batch irreproducibility, lack of effective sterilization methods, stability problems, and most importantly, scale-up problems (from laboratory bench to practical scale of interest). Microfluidics have been widely used to precisely control mixing hence nanocarrier production. Due to the low productivity per device (in a region of mg/h) there is an immediate need for manufacturing innovation in order to meet the rising need in novel nanocarriers. Contrary to microfluidics, Membrane emulsification offers precise control of mixing under gentle conditions on a larger production scale (up to 1500kg/h) https://www.micropore.co.uk/manufacturing-scale-1500-kghr.html compared to usually used microfluidic devices and will be used as a part of this PhD to develop a high throughput manufacturing process for reproducible nanocarrier manufacturing. Upon successful completion of this PhD there is an opportunity to revolutionise the manufacturing process of mRNA vaccines (where lipid nanocarriers are used to protect mRNA) but also open new nanocarriers applications e.g. agroindustry where application was never imagined due to the low throughputs and hight manufacturing costs of the current technologies. Upon completion of the PhD there are likely to be great job prospects, in a variety of sectors.
Full Project Details:
A number of formulations will be studied for preparation of nanocarriers. Ability of the nanocarriers to encapsulate bioactives, stability of the bioactives during encapsulation and release/leackage from the nanocarriers will be investigated to understand how to optimise the manufacturing process.
This is an interdisciplinary project between Chemistry (Materials) and Chemical Engineering where the intention would be to utilise the existing knowledge on nanocarriers and at the same time develop a process that can be scaled up in terms of throughput. Within this project different manufacturing techniques, including membrane emulsification, will be tried along with interfacial reactions, to produce the bespoke bio-degradable and smart lipid nanocarriers. A range of formulations will be examined, and a secondary filtration step will be coupled to the system with the intention to obtain a final product of the right concentration and acceptable throughput.
There is a generous annual allowance to cover attendance at international conferences and an industrial placement with CRODA.
Applicants should have at least a 2:1 Honours (or equivalent) in any of the following: chemistry, chemical-, bio-, biochemical- or materials engineering. Previous experience in liposome/lipid/biodegradable nanoparticles production, microencapsulation or polymers microfluidics, membrane emulsification would be useful, but is not essential.
Name: Dr Marijana Dragosavac
Email address: [Email Address Removed]
How to apply:
Apply under Chemical Engineering program: http://www.lboro.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/apply/. Under programme name, select ‘Chemical Engineering’.
Submit all the relevant documentation including the research proposal.
Please quote reference number: CG-MD-2101
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