Fully Funded PhD Studentship: Design, Fabrication and Characterization of Microneedle-Based Devices for Cancer Immunotherapy

Swansea University - Department of Chemistry

Applications are invited for a fully funded PhD studentship in Chemistry.

Project Supervisors:

Supervisor 1: Professor Juan C Mareque-Rivas

Supervisor 2: Professor Owen Guy

Project description:

Harnessing the immune system is one of the hottest therapeutic approaches to combat cancer – it offers the potential for long term protection limiting harm to normal tissue, and it is backed up by the recent clinical successes of several immunotherapeutic regimes [1]. However, one of the current challenges is ensuring that the immunomodulatory drugs get inside the tumours, which not only prevents them from working to their full potential, but also leads to the off-target collateral damage that causes adverse side effects in many patients [2]. Recently, we have shown we can build effective cancer vaccines around biocompatible nanoparticles that simultaneously act as accurate delivery vehicles, and as imaging agents for cancer diagnosis and ultrasensitive and quantitative tracking of drug delivery to target receptor, tissues and organs [3-5]. This project will develop a microneedle technology to enhance the delivery of these and other immunomodulatory drugs for improved cancer immunotherapy treatments. The project will enable you to gain cutting edge skills in bioconjugation chemistry and colloidal synthesis, and expertise in BioMEMS/microfabrication (microfluidics, microneedles, metal deposition) and immunotherapy cancer drug testing.    

The successful candidate will be joining an interdisciplinary team, and work in a dynamic and collaborative environment with access to unique research support infrastructure and state-of-the-art equipment at the new Department of Chemistry and the Centre for NanoHealth of Swansea University, and CIC biomaGUNE (Spain).

References: [1] M. Cully,Nat Rev Drug Discov., 2015, 14, 374. [2] T. C. Gangadharet al., Nat Rev Clinical Oncol., 2014, 11, 91. [3]B. M.Cobaleda-Siles et al., Small 2014, 10, 5054. [4] J. Hernández-Gil et al., Adv. Healthc. Mater. 2015, 4, 1034. [5] A. Ruiz de Angulo et al., ACS Nano 2016, 10, 1602. 

Academic Requirements:

Candidates must have a minimum of a 2.1 honours degree at undergraduate level or a Master's degree (with Merit), in a relevant discipline.  

Residency Criteria:

Due to funding restrictions, this studentship is open to UK/EU candidates only. 

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