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How Does The Protein Corona Affect The Intra-Cellular Behaviour Of Nanoparticles? (MARINMU19SF)

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, May 31, 2019
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Research in the Marín group focuses on the application of nanoscience to address biological challenges. The main interests are in the synthesis and the use of nanomaterials as intracellular sensors and as drug delivery systems for cancer treatment.

The use of nanoparticles for biomedical applications such as drug delivery systems, in theranostics and in
phototherapy; and their functionalisation with fluorescent molecules for imaging and sensing of intracellular species has excited extensive research interest in the last two decades. Being able to predict the properties of functionalised nanoparticles when they are located within the intracellular environment is of high interest in the field of nanotechnology for biological applications. As a standard approach, properties of the functionalised nanoparticles such as singlet and triplet excited states, lifetime, and therapeutic and sensing abilities are studied in a controlled solution (such as a buffer). The nanoparticles are then applied in biological studies and these properties are extrapolated to the intracellular environment. However, it is known that, when the nanoparticles enter the biological medium, the proteins present in the medium are adsorbed onto the surface of the nanoparticles forming a layer known as the protein corona. This protein corona could change the photophysical and photochemical properties of the nanoparticles and could influence their behaviour as, for example, intracellular optical sensors or drug delivery systems. Due to the formation of such a protein corona within an intracellular environment, the common practice of extrapolating the properties that the functionalised nanoparticles have in solution to the intracellular environment may lead to errors. Thus, being able to predict the properties of
functionalised nanoparticles when they are located within the intracellular environment is of high interest in the field of nanotechnology for biological applications.

This PhD project will: 1) study both the changes in photophysical and photochemical properties experienced by functionalised nanoparticles in the biological environment; and 2) investigate methods to synthesise nanoparticles that can intrinsically mimic the functionalisation of the nanosystems in the biological environment.

For more information on the supervisor for this project, please go here:

Type of programme: PhD

Project start date: October 2019

More of study: Full time

Entry requirements: Acceptable first degree - Chemistry, Chemical Sciences, Biochemistry
The standard minimum entry requirement is 2:1.

Funding Notes

This PhD project is offered on a self-funding basis. It is open to applicants with funding or those applying to funding sources. Details of tuition fees can be found at View Website.

A bench fee is also payable on top of the tuition fee to cover specialist equipment or laboratory costs required for the research. The amount charged annually will vary considerably depending on the nature of the project and applicants should contact the primary supervisor for further information about the fee associated with the project.


i) Marin, M., Galindo, F., Thomas, P., and Russell, D. (2012) Angew. Chem., Int. Ed. 51 (38) 9657-9661

ii) M. J. Marín and D. A. Russell, "Near-infrared nanomaterials". Edited by Fan Zhang and Dongyuan Zhao. 2016. Chapter 7. Pages: 192-231

iii) P. C. Ke, S. Lin, W. J. Parak, T. P. Davis, and Frank Caruso (2017) ACS Nano, 11, 11773−11776

iv) F. Pederzoli, G. Tosi, M. A. Vandelli, D. Belletti, F. Forni, and B. Ruozi (2017) WIREs Nanomed Nanobiotechnol, 9:e1467

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