PhD Studentship - Cancer Theranostics using Nanomaterials and Near Infrared Light (MARINM_U18SCI)

University of East Anglia - Chemistry

Start Date: October 2018

No. of positions available: 1

Supervisor: Dr Maria J Marin

Project description:

Research in the Marín group focuses on the application of nanoscience to address biological challenges. The main interests are in the synthesis and the use of nanomaterials as intracellular sensors and as drug delivery systems for cancer treatment.

The aim of thIS PhD project is to design and synthesise a single near infrared (NIR) excitable nanoplatform for the imaging, diagnosis, monitoring and treatment, via photodynamic therapy, of cancer. The NIR excitable nanoplatform will be based on upconverting nanoparticles (UCNPs) that will be used as multicarriers of targeting agents, diagnostic tools and therapeutic drugs.

Upconversion nanoparticles will be used as the NIR activated multicarriers due to the advantages that they present for biological applications. UCNPs are nanomaterials composed of lanthanide ions embedded in a matrix of inorganic dopants. UCNPs are photoexcitable with NIR light and emit luminescence at several shorter wavelengths. In biology, the use of NIR excitation overcomes disadvantages presented by UV light excitation since the former uses longer wavelengths for which the tissue is optically transparent. NIR irradiation allows for deeper tissue penetration, causing minimal photodamage and no autofluorescence. Other advantages of UCNPs is that they are not known to be cytotoxic and are chemical- and photo-stable. Interestingly for this project, the emitted lights of the UCNPs can be used to independently photoactivate drugs present at the nanocore and to image the treated sample.

The proposed PhD studentship will provide the student with training in the synthesis, surface modification and characterisation of nanomaterials; cell culture of mammalian cells; viability studies; and bio-imaging using different microscopic techniques including confocal fluorescence microscopy. The student will enhance his/her professional skills through courses included in the Personal and Professional Development programme at UEA. The primary supervisor will be available daily for the research student.

Interviews will be held w/c 22 January 2018.

Person specification:

Acceptable first degree: Chemistry, Chemical Sciences, Biochemistry

The standard minimum entry requirement is 2:1.

Funding notes:

This PhD project is in a Faculty of Science competition for funded studentships. These studentships are funded for 3 years and comprise home/EU fees, an annual stipend of £14,553 and £1000 per annum to support research training.  Overseas applicants may apply but they are required to fund the difference between home/EU and overseas tuition fees (in 2017/18 the difference is £13,805 for the Schools of CHE, PHA & MTH(Engineering), and £10,605 for CMP & MTH but fees are subject to an annual increase)

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