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Synthesis and Function of Photo-and Electrochemically Responsive Multifunctional Nanostructured Materials for Cancer Theranostics

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  • Full or part time
    Dr L Perez-Garcia
    Dr F Rawson
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round

Project Description

3-year PhD studentship, School of Pharmacy, University of Nottingham

The present project will involve the design and preparation of hybrid multifunctional nanomaterials through the bio-functionalization of inorganic and/or metallic surfaces with organic moieties designed to interact with biological material, sense its function, and deliver biologically relevant compounds. The external inputs triggering the intracellular release will be either photo- or electrochemically driven, and the process will be monitored by changes in optical outputs.
More specifically, the work will comprise the synthesis of surface adsorbants, (bio)functionalization and characterization of gold and silica nano- and microparticles capable to incorporate bioactive anti-cancer compounds, such as photosensitizers yielding nanostructured systems useful as carriers for photodynamic therapy. Solution based preparation methods will be used for the synthesis of gold nanoparticles, using cationic gemini surfactants, playing a multiple role as transfer agents, nanoparticle stabilizers and also as molecular hosts for the pharmaceuticals. The silica microparticles will be functionalized using wet chemistry protocols. For all the materials, their chemical and physical characterization, including their stability in solution toward aggregation and ligand exchange, as well as external stimuli responsivity will be explored.
In order to succeed in this complex project a highly multidisciplinary approach based in our group’s expertise[1] is necessary, and the candidate will gain expertise in fields such as self-assembly, surface functionalization and characterization by a variety of techniques including TEM, SEM, optical, fluorescence microscopy, EDX and AFM analysis. Singlet oxygen measurements will also be performed, in order to assess the potential efficacy of the new materials both in solution and in vitro.
[1] a) N. Torras, J. P. Agusil, P. Vázquez, M. Duch, A. M. Hernández-Pinto, J. Samitier, E. J. de la Rosa, J. Esteve, T. Suárez, L. Pérez-García, J. A. Plaza. Suspended Planar-Array Chips for Molecular Multiplexing at the Microscale. Adv. Mater., 2016, 28, 1449–1454. b). M. E. Alea-Reyes, O. Penon, P. García Calavia, M. J. Marín, D. A. Russell, L. Pérez-García. Synthesis and in vitro phototoxicity of multifunctional Zn(II)meso-tetrakis(4-carboxyphenyl)porphyrin-coated gold nanoparticles assembled via axial coordination with imidazole ligands. J. Colloid Interf. Sci., 2018, 521, 81–90. c) P. Sanjuan-Alberte, M. R. Alexander, R. J. M. Hague, F. J. Rawson. Electrochemically stimulating developments in bioelectronic medicine. Bioelectronic Medicine, 2018, 4, 1-7.

Funding Notes

• The PhD position is directly funded. Due to funding restrictions, the position is only available for UK and EU candidates
• Candidates must possess or expect to obtain, a 2:1 or 1st class degree in Chemistry, Materials Science, Nanoscience or related disciplines.
• Candidates will be available to start on 1st October 2018.

How to apply:

Please send a copy of your covering letter, CV and academic transcripts to [email protected] referring to the project title.

How good is research at University of Nottingham in Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 44.10

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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