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Understanding polymer-protein interaction for nanoparticle drug delivery

   School of Science

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  Dr A Pearce, Dr James Reynolds  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The aim of this PhD project is to investigate how polymer nanoparticle properties direct interactions with proteins in the context of nanomedicine drug delivery. You will synthesise a diverse range of polymer nanoparticles with varied chemistry, size, and shape, and use mass spectrometry techniques to study their binding to serum proteins to develop structure-activity relationships. This will result in advanced understandings of how to design nanomedicines that achieve desired clinical outcomes, for example in the treatment of intracellular bacterial infections.

Nanomedicine, where a therapeutic is incorporated in a nanoparticle (NP) carrier, is a promising strategy for improving clinical outcomes for a range of diseases. To ensure the ultimate clinical success of drug-containing NPs, it is important to understand the relationships between NP properties and their function within biological environments. I am particularly interested in studying the pathways of NPs as they navigate the body after injection, which requires passing through a protein-rich bloodstream where a protein coating will form. This project aims to use advanced mass spectrometry to build structure-activity relationships between polymer properties and protein association. This will enable prediction of the attachment of a certain protein to any given particle, and rapidly accelerate progress towards rational NP design for any given clinical application.

This highly interdisciplinary project will be jointly supervised by Dr Amanda Pearce and Dr Jim Reynolds in the Department of Chemistry, and involves polymer chemistry, materials characterisation, biochemistry analysis, mass spectrometry and cell culture. The student will work across synthetic, analytical, and biological labs to gain a truly multidisciplinary training in cutting-edge biomedical research.

Loughborough University has an applied research culture. In REF 2021, 94% of the work submitted was judged to be top-rated as world-leading or internationally excellent. We are a community based on mutual support and collaboration. Through our Doctoral College there are continual opportunities for building important research skills and networks among your peers and research academics.


Name of primary supervisor

Dr Amanda Pearce

Name of secondary supervisor

Dr Jim Reynolds

Entry requirements for United Kingdom

Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree in a STEM discipline (Chemistry, Materials, Chemical Engineering, Pharmacy, or any other relevant STEM subjects). We also expect the applicants to have a demonstrable interest in research, innovation, and interdisciplinary research. It is desirable for the successful applicant to demonstrate experience, knowledge, and/or interest of relevance to the project, e.g., basic chemistry, polymeric materials, biochemistry, principles of cell biology, and teamworking skills.

English language requirements

Applicants must meet the minimum English language requirements. Further details are available on the International website.

Applicants must meet the minimum English language requirements. Further details are available on the International website (

Find out more about research degree funding

How to apply

All applications should be made online. Under programme name, select Chemistry. Please quote the advertised reference number: SCI23-AMP in your application.

See studentship assessment criteria.

To avoid delays in processing your application, please ensure that you submit the minimum supporting documents.

Apply now

Funding Notes

UK fee
Fully funded full-time degree per annum
International fee
Fully funded full-time degree per annum
Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, IT equipment and other support services. University fees and charges can be paid in advance and there are several methods of payment, including online payments and payment by instalment. Fees are reviewed annually and are likely to increase to take into account inflationary pressures.
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