About the Project
For neurodegenerative diseases, where a specific cell type is lost, it is possible to consider replacing these cells to restore the lost function. With the advent of vastly improved cell sources (stem cell derived neurons), it is now time to focus on overcoming the bottleneck in the transplantation process: poor graft survival and integration. This project aims to develop and test a biomaterial that could assist researchers in tackling these problems.
There are several growth factors that show neuroprotective properties and there is growing evidence to show that they may assist graft survival in the Parkinsonian brain. A major issue lies in delivering such therapeutics to the graft site in a sustained manner. The aim of this project is to produce an injectable biohybrid scaffold capable of releasing a range of potential therapeutics in a sustained manner over a period of weeks/months. This project will involve the synthesis of starting materials (polymer chemistry), synthesis of the scaffolds (materials chemistry and microfluidic device use), analysis of drug (growth factors/cytokines) loading and release profiles, and cell viability assays in vitro (cell culture techniques).
The project with therefore equip the PhD candidate with a wide range of laboratory skills whilst giving them a firm knowledge base in drug delivery systems. Such a skill set would provide the candidate with an ideal platform for a career in academia or pharmaceutical companies.
The project will take place at Cardiff University, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences supervised by Dr. Ben Newland. The PhD position is for self-funded students only. For informal enquiries please contact Dr. Newland via email ([Email Address Removed]).