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Nanoparticle delivery of antibiotics for treatment of pulmonary infection


   School of Pharmacy

  Dr Vicky Kett, Prof Michael Tunney  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) poses a major global risk to human health by causing death, disability, longer hospitalisations, and increased healthcare costs. In respiratory diseases such as Cystic Fibrosis (CF) and COPD, the lungs are colonized by diverse polymicrobial bacterial communities. Inhaled antibiotics are currently only used in the treatment of chronic P. aeruginosa infection in CF and a major challenge with such treatment is antibiotic penetration into sputum. We have developed formulations with excellent powder properties for pulmonary delivery. We have extensive data to show that several antibiotics used in the treatment of chronic lung infection can be encapsulated in these formulations.

The aim of this project will be to determine the activity of nanoparticle encapsulated antibiotics against a wide range of pathogens detected in the lung microbiome. In vitro activity will be determined using planktonic and biofilm models of infection under aerobic and anaerobic conditions, similar to those found in sputum in the lungs of CF patients. In vivo activity will be determined using both sputum from patients with lung infection. Depending on results, further formulation studies may be undertaken to optimize antimicrobial activity. Extensive training will be provided throughout the project as part of internationally renowned research teams. 

Applicants should have a 1st or 2.1 honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject. Relevant subjects include Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Biochemistry, Biological/Biomedical Sciences, Chemistry, Engineering, or a closely related discipline. Students who have a 2.2 honours degree and a Master’s degree may also be considered, but the School reserves the right to shortlist for interview only those applicants who have demonstrated high academic attainment to date. Technical experience and knowledge in some of the following would be desirable: microbiology, pharmaceutical formulation. 

Extensive training will be provided in all aspects of the fundamentals of nanoparticle manufacture together with physicochemical methods required to optimise the manufacturing process, and to characterise vaccine products such as thermal stability and microbiological activity.

Students are expected to present at a minimum of one international meeting during their studies and make a contribution to internationally excellent research outputs. Participation in outreach activities associated with the research theme will be encouraged.

Applicants should apply through the University's Direct Application Portal: https://dap.qub.ac.uk/portal/user/u_login.php


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