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Multifunctional Carbohydrate-Based Nanoparticle for Cancer Monitoring and Treatment (CHAOY2-U21SF)

School of Chemistry

About the Project

Nanoparticles are considered as a primary vehicle for targeted therapies because they can pass biological barriers, enter and distribute within cells. So far, most studies have shown that nanoparticle properties, such as size and surface, can influence how cells internalize nanoparticles. Carbohydrates can target specific receptors in cancerous cells. In this project, carbohydrate nanoparticles are designed as a vehicle to encapsulate QDs and drugs. Carbohydrate nanoparticles can be synthesised using various methods tailored to the needs of the application and the type of drugs to be encapsulated. The combination of a hydrophilic carbohydrate head with a hydrophobic tail makes a perfect surfactant structure, which will facilitate the micelle formation to generate the carbohydrate nanoparticle in aqueous solution. The synthesised NP-QDs-Drug system is: stable in blood; non-toxic; biodegradable, which provides controlled release; of sub-cellular size; biocompatible with tissue and cells. Consequently carbohydrate nanoparticles possess great advantages over the polymeric nanoparticles, such as improved hydrophilicity and degradation rate.

The addition of non-toxic SiQDs in encapsulation provides intrinsic orange-red photoluminescence which enables monitoring of both accumulation and degradation in vitro and in vivo. The strong red photoluminescence is stable in biological environments and is not absorbed by cells, which will provide sufficient information for monitoring the drug delivery.

The student working in this project is expected to synthesize the NP-QDs-Drug systems, investigate the uptake and toxicities after the incubation in cell culture, and study the drug targeting, triggering and releasing. The initial training on synthesis and cell culture will be provided in-house. Materials characterisation, such as SEM, TEM, XPS, XRD will be assisted by the facility platform technicians. In addition, the School/Faculty/Norwich Research Park provides an extremely stimulating scientific environment and a chance to experience interdisciplinary association of researchers and to develop communication and collaboration skills.

For more information on the supervisor for this project, please go here
Type of programme: PhD
Start Date: 1st October 2021
Mode of Study: Full Time
Studentship Length: 3 year studentships have a (non-funded) 1 year ‘registration only’ period

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. Applicants should contact the primary supervisor for further information about the fee associated with the project.

Entry Requirements are Chemistry, Physics, Material Science and Engineering
The standard minimum entry requirement is 2:1


i). Jayshree H. Ahire, Mehrnaz Behray, Carl A. Webster, Qi Wang, Victoria Sherwood, Nattika Saengkrit, Uracha Ruktanonchai, Noppawan Woramongkolchai, and Yimin Chao, Advanced Healthcare Materials, 4, 1877-1886, (2015),

ii). Jayshree H. Ahire, Isabelle Chambrier , Anja Mueller , Yongping Bao , and Yimin Chao, ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 5, 7384-7391 (2013),

iii). Qi Wang, Yongping Bao, Jayshree Ahire, Yimin Chao, Advanced Healthcare Materials, 2, 459-466 (2013)

iv). Jayshree H. Ahire, Qi Wang, Paul R. Coxon, Girish Malhotra, Rik Brydson, Rongjun Chen, and Yimin Chao, ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 4, 3285-3292 (2012)

v). Y. Chao, A. I. Marsh, M. Behray, F. Guan, A. Engdahl, Y. Chao, Q. Wang, Y. Bao, Faraday Discussions 222, 332-349 (2020).

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