Mechanistic Study of Molecular Assembly for Drug and Gene Delivery
Despite numerous advances over the past several decades, effective drug and gene delivery with high efficiency, low toxicity and cell targeting remains challenging. Novel nanocarriers that can address these issues are highly desired. Designed peptides bearing hydrophobic and hydrophilic moieties can self-assemble into various well-ordered nanostructures. Recent studies have demonstrated that these structural features together with their excellent biocompatibility and a wide range of design flexibility make them attractive as drug and gene delivery vehicles.
This PhD project will develop mechanistic understanding from well-selected models to unravel how drug and DNA molecules form complexes with designed peptides that can self-assemble into well-ordered nanostructures as nanocarriers; how the nanocarriers attack cell membrane at physiological environment; and subsequently their drug and gene delivery efficiencies using different cell lines. Cancer cell specificity of the peptides will also be investigated.
The student will receive training in molecular biophysics covering leading physical techniques for molecular characterisation (dynamic light scattering, Langmuir trough, AFM, TEM, high-content microscopy etc.) and various cell assays to enable the student to undertake the exciting project.
Applicants should have or expect to gain a first class or upper second-class honours degree (or equivalent if from overseas) in any of the following backgrounds: chemistry, physics, biochemistry, biotechnology, biomaterials, biomedical engineering, pharmaceutics, bioengineering, chemical engineering or a related discipline, or have an appropriate MSc qualification.
If English is not your first language then you must have International English Language Testing Service (IELTS) certificate with an average of 6.5 or above and at least 6.0 in each component.