Development of plastic antibodies as diagnostics and potential antivirals agents for avian influenza viruses
The studentship will explore the potential application of computationally designed molecularly imprinted nanoparticles (nanoMIPs) as new diagnostic/therapeutic materials in veterinary science. The project will focus on the development of plastic antibodies (nanoMIPs) as an alternative and a direct replacement to bioassays for an important infectious disease, avian influenza (H5N1) that produces devastating consequences to animal health and continues to pose a threat to public health. NanoMIPs represent the most generic, versatile, scalable and cost-effective approach to the creation of synthetic molecular receptors to date. Recent developments in the automated synthesis of nanoMIPs using an immobilised template approach from the Biotechnology Group means that for the first time a reliable supply of soluble synthetic nanoparticles with pre-determined molecular recognition and sub-nanomolar affinities will be available for testing.
Project Aim: The aim of the proposal is to use computational design in optimisation of polymer composition for peptide epitopes, synthesise and test nanoMIPs as a direct replacement to antibodies in bioassays for H5N1 avian influenza. These nanoMIPs may have the potential to detect viruses that are widely circulating in farm animals and indeed humans. The research could result in a new class of improved diagnostic reagents that could be a significant contribution to the scientific advancement and cost effective diagnosis and the reduction in the impact of such infectious diseases and reduce the dependence on conventional antibodies.
The candidate will receive training in modern methods of polymer synthesis, molecular modelling, molecular imprinting, nanoparticles characterisation, use of ELISA and Biacore.
We are an equal opportunities employer and particularly welcome applications for Ph.D. places from women, minority ethnic and other under-represented groups.
Self funded students