Therapeutic drugs are subjected to an array of cellular transport and metabolic processes which influence their activity and profile within the body. Monitoring the interaction of therapeutic drugs with cells often relies on the use of radioactive or fluorescent probe compounds to study the role of cellular processes in drug handling. However, interaction of drugs with cells alters the optical characteristics of the cellular system and monitoring such changes offers a novel approach to studying cell/drug interaction.
Many drugs are delivered orally and interact with intestinal epithelial absorptive cells as part of the absorption process. Therefore, the aim of this PhD is to develop a label-free optical technique for studying interaction of drugs and their penetration through intestinal epithelial cells. The specific objectives of the research are to develop in vitro cell-based hydrogel models and an associated optical detection system for monitoring cell/drug interaction.
The student will gain skills in cell culture and cell-based assays, pharmacokinetics, optics, microfluidics and microfabrication and the project will be of interest to individuals wanting to pursue careers in academic research and industrial drug discovery.
The student will be supervised by Dr Ruchi Gupta (University of Hull) and co-supervised by Dr Jeff Penny (University of Manchester) and interested candidates should contact Dr Gupta ([email protected]
) for an informal discussion.
Candidates are expected to hold a minimum upper-second (or equivalent) undergraduate degree in biochemistry, cell biology, pharmacology, pharmacy or related subject. A Masters qualification is highly desirable.