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Synthesise of new macromolecules for application in photodynamic therapy.

   Department of Chemistry

   Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is an effective and licensed treatment for a number of conditions, including various cancers and certain skin and eye conditions. The technique involves the combined use of “light” a “photosensitizer” and “oxygen” to destroy diseased tissue. However, there are a number of problems limiting the effectiveness of PDT. These include problems with site-specific delivery and more importantly, a lack of oxygen within tumours (hypoxia). The aim of this proposal is to overcome these problems and to develop and test a new Nano based photosensitizers that can target tumours AND deliver oxygen. Specifically, the project will involve the synthesise of a series of fluorinated macromolecules that can bind large amounts of oxygen and a variety of photosensitizers. The proposed systems will be constructed from anionic and cationic polymers capable of self-assembling into Nano-sized materials with diameters around 200 nm. As such they will be stable, large enough to accumulate within tumours and be able to kill cancer cells when irradiated with light (whilst being completely inert/non-toxic in the dark).

Funding Notes

This is a self-funded project. The applicant should have or expect to gain at least an upper second class degree, or equivalent overseas qualification, in a relevant subject.

If you have the correct qualifications and access to your own funding, either from your home country or your own finances, your application to work with this supervisor will be considered.


1. Kadhim A, McKenzie LK, Bryant HE & Twyman LJ; Synthesis and Aggregation of a Porphyrin-Cored Hyperbranched Polyglycidol and Its Application as a Macromolecular Photosensitizer for Photodynamic Therapy. Molecular Pharmaceutics, 2019, 16(3), 1132-1139.
2. Fan M, Alghassab TS & Twyman LJ; Increased Oxygen Solubility in Aqueous Media Using PEG–Poly-2,2,2-trifluoroethyl Methacrylate Copolymer Micelles and Their Potential Application As Volume Expanders and As an Artificial Blood Product. ACS Applied Bio Materials, 2018, 1(3), 708-713.

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