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Towards Scalable and Continuous Synthesis of Metal-Organic Framework Nano Materials for Hard to Treat Cancers


Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology

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Prof C F Kaminski , Dr D Fairen-Jimenez No more applications being accepted Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Sponsor: EU Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) EU Innovative Training Network (ITN).

The Role

Immaterial Ltd. (https://immaterial-labs.com/), in conjunction with The Adsorption and Advanced Materials Laboratory (A2ML) (http://aam.ceb.cam.ac.uk/), headed by Dr David Fairen-Jimenez, and the Laser Analytics group, headed by Prof. Clemens Kaminski, at the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology in the University of Cambridge, is looking for an outstanding PhD candidate for a project involving the synthesis, scale-up and manufacturing of metal-organic framework (MOFs) nanoparticles for use in biomedical applications, to start in Q3 2020.

Dr David Fairen-Jimenez has pioneered the development of MOF nanoparticles for both industrial and biomedical applications which have gained significant academic and commercial traction over the past 3 years. Prof. Clemens Kaminski has pioneered the development and application of modern laser spectroscopy and imaging methods to elucidate details and dynamics of the molecular mechanism of disease. The use of MOFs for drug delivery and the synergy between both laboratories is described in recent academic publications:

• https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jacs.0c00188
• https://doi.org/10.1039/C5CC05237H
• https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chempr.2019.08.015

The Adsorption and Advanced Materials Laboratory (http://aam.ceb.cam.ac.uk/) at the University of Cambridge (UCAM) is composed of 15 PhD/MPhil students and 9 postdoctoral researchers. The group has developed a strong leadership in the design of a new generation of porous functional materials, at the interface between advanced experimental techniques and computational simulations. Dr David Fairen-Jimenez is also the Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) for Immaterial Ltd., a spin-out company from the A2ML group, which specialises in the synthesis and scale-up of MOF nanoparticles and monolithic materials. Prof Clemens Kaminski heads the Laser Analytics Group in Cambridge (http://laser.ceb.cam.ac.uk), is Director of the Centre for Doctoral Training in Sensor Technologies in Cambridge (http://cdt.sensors.cam.ac.uk), and Director of the Cambridge Infinitus Research Centre. His group develops advanced laser-based imaging methods to study molecular mechanisms of health and disease. The group has set up one of the most advanced imaging laboratories in the world, with techniques covering scales from molecule to organism in living systems.

The PhD candidate will work on a day-to-day basis with Immaterial, the A2ML and the Laser Analytics Group in the development of sustainable and scalable processes for the synthesis and scale-up of MOF nanoparticles as part of the EU Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) Innovative Training Network (ITN) funded HeatNMOF (https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/860942) project. It is expected that outcomes from your research will be published in top journals, including Nature Materials, Angewandte Chemie, Journal of the American Chemical Society, etc. For more details about the track record of the group, please see here (http://tinyurl.com/ScholarDFJ) and here (https://scholar.google.co.uk/citations?hl=en&user=ORqe_hwAAAAJ&view_op=list_works&sortby=pubdate).

About HeatNMof

Nanotechnology has a profound impact on basic life science (e.g. biosensing, imaging and therapy), with however only modest translation into the industry and to society. The translation issue requires multidisciplinary material scientists and companies able to tackle the problem from different angles (e.g. regulation, pharmaceutical industry, clinic, research, scale-up, cost-effectiveness, toxicity and specificity). HeatNMof aims to develop smart multifunctional drug nanocarriers based on versatile porous biocompatible nanometric metal-organic frameworks, associated with exceptional drug payloads and controlled releases, and photo- and/or magnetic inorganic nanoparticles, providing both a specific control of reactions inside living entities and additional properties such as imaging and/or hyperthermia therapy. The successful development of this project will contribute not only to improve the highly societal relevant cancer therapy but also to train the next generation of materials scientists in a highly interdisciplinary and intersectoral research environment.

The HeatNMof consortium includes the following 10 European institutions as Beneficiaries (3 industrial companies, 3 research centers and 4 academics): IMDEA Energy Institute, Spain; Universidad Santiago de Compostela, Spain; Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, France; University of Antwerp, Belgium; Immaterial Ltd, United Kingdom; Institut National des Sciences Appliquées de Toulouse, France; University of Hamburg, Germany; Fondazione Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Italy; Nanoscale Biomagnetics SL, Spain; ISERN Patentes y Marcas M SL, Spain. The HeatNMof program is coordinated by Patricia Horcajada (IMDEA Energy Institute, Spain).

The Candidate

A background in chemistry, materials science or closely related disciplines is required; previous experience with MOF materials is preferable. The student selected for this project will be trained on green synthesis chemical techniques, powder X-ray diffraction, gas adsorption, electron and super-resolution microscopy and will join a growing interdisciplinary team. In addition to this training, the successful candidate will under go three secondments, each lasting 12-16 weeks, at Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, France, to perform exploratory MOF synthesis; ISERN Patentes y Marcas M SL, Spain, for IP and marketing training dealing with drug delivery by light/AMF heating and; University of Antwerp, Belgium, to analyise and compare chemical imaging with TEM results. Applicants should have (or expect to be awarded) a first class degree at the level of MSci, MEng (or overseas equivalents).

Benefits

The successful candidate will receive a salary of £40,279 per annum. If the candidate needs to relocate from overseas, an additional £5,143 per annum is available. If the candidate is married or has child dependents, an additional family allowance of £2,168 per annum is available. The guaranteed PhD funding is for 36 months (i.e. EC funding, additional funding is possible, depending on the local Supervisor, and in accordance with the regular PhD time in the country of origin). In addition to their individual scientific projects, all fellows will benefit from further continuing education, which includes internships and secondments (ca. 10 months), a variety of training modules as well as transferable skills courses and active participation in workshops and conferences.

Eligibility of researchers

As part of the EU Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) Innovative Training Network (ITN), candidates must meet the following eligibility criteria:
• Mobility rule: The researcher must not have resided or carried out his/her main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of his/her host organisation for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to his/her recruitment.
• At the date of recruitment by the host organisation, be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research careers.
• Has not been awarded a doctoral degree.

How to apply

Interested applicants should send an e-mail before the 12th of June 2020 at 5:00 PM GMT to Dr David Fairen-Jimenez ([Email Address Removed]). Applications should enclose the following documents:
a) your Europass CV (https://europass.cedefop.europa.eu/documents/curriculum-vitae)
b) a personal motivation letter describing in detail the reasons behind your professional choice to join our doctoral training program (<500 words)
c) copies of academic certificates and transcripts, including (if finished) a copy of your MSc thesis
d) a brief research proposal (<500 words)
e) Proof of language proficiency: Language certificate, university studies in the relevant language, research stay, etc.
f) Optional: Supporting letters

For more information about this studentship contact Dr Andrew Marsden ([Email Address Removed]), Dr David Fairen-Jimenez ([Email Address Removed]) or Prof. Clemens Kaminski ([Email Address Removed]).

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