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PhD Studentship: Next-generation Nanoparticle Functionalisation for Selective Delivery to Brain Tumours

University of Nottingham - Medicine

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Nottingham
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: £18,622
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 24th November 2023
Closes: 16th January 2024
Reference: MED238

Location: UK Other

Subject area: (BBSRC Doctoral Training Partnership, Researcher Academy)

UoN Supervisor names: Ruman Rahman

A nanoparticle is a small particle that ranges between 1 to 100 nanometres in size, less than the width of a single human hair. Undetectable by the human eye, nanoparticles can exhibit significantly different physical and chemical properties to their larger material counterparts. These properties have the potential for nanoparticles to revolutionise cancer biology. 

‘Glioblastoma’, the most common malignant brain cancer, remains incurable despite multimodal standard-of-care treatment (surgery, followed by adjuvant radiotherapy and chemotherapy). In considerable part, this is due to otherwise potent chemotherapy drugs failing to cross the blood-brain-barrier effectively, and lack of targeting these drugs specifically to glioblastoma cells in the brain, thus sparing healthy brain cells. 

The aim of this research project is to synthesise next-generation nanoparticles through a new proprietary manufacturing process. This will enable rapid development of a suite of chemotherapy-loaded nanoparticles which are decorated with glioblastoma-targeting ligands on the outer surface. Initial experiments will be conducted using patient-derived glioblastoma cell lines to identify those likely to be sensitive to this mode of therapy. Methodologies will include RNA-sequencing and membrane proteomic profiling (genotyping and phenotyping), 2D and 3D tumour organoid cultures (cytotoxicity assays), and confocal microscopy (intracellular drug uptake and accumulation). 

The final series of experiments will test the potential efficacy of lead nanoparticle formulations using patient-derived xenograft mouse models of glioblastoma. A key outcome measure will be overall survival relative to animals treated with glioblastoma standard -of-care. This will generate proof-of-concept data to expedite a route to clinical translation. 

Award start date: October 2024

Duration of award: 4 years 

Terms and conditions    

Home and international students are welcome to apply for this opportunity. Funding is available for four years from late September 2024. The award covers tuition fee (£4,712) at the home rate plus an annual stipend which was (£18,622) for 2023. This is set by the Research Councils. Please note that successful international candidates will be put forward for a University Fees Difference Scholarship to cover the difference between the home and international fee.

To apply and check your eligibility, please click go to www.nottingham.ac.uk/bbdtp/apply/how-to-apply.aspx and you can find further information about how to apply to our programme.

Informal enquiries may be addressed to ruman.rahman@nottingham.ac.uk or bbdtp@nottingham.ac.uk

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