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Multifunctional hybrid porous silica nanoparticles for stimuli-responsive delivery of novel antimicrobial agents

PGR-P-352

Key facts

Type of research degree
PhD
Application deadline
Ongoing deadline
Country eligibility
International (open to all nationalities, including the UK)
Funding
Competition funded
Source of funding
University of Leeds
Supervisors
Dr Zhan Ong
Additional supervisors
Dr Andrew Kirby
Research groups/institutes
Leeds Institute of Medical Research at St James's, Molecular and Nanoscale Physics
<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

The rapid emergence of multidrug-resistant superbugs poses a serious global health and socioeconomic threat. This project builds upon our expertise in the facile and scalable synthesis of novel, highly uniform porous silica nanoparticles for drug delivery. The student will now extend the application of this novel system to further develop smart porous silica nanoparticles that are sensitive to the infection microenvironment for the improved delivery of promising antimicrobial agents. This approach is expected to lead to enhancements of the safety and efficacy of current infectious disease therapies. This project will suit a self-motivated student with a keen interest to use novel nanotechnologies to address real-world biomedical problems. The student will join an interdisciplinary team to synthesise and characterise the multifunctional porous silica nanoparticles that are sensitive to biochemical changes at bacterial infection sites as well as evaluate the antimicrobial efficacy and biocompatibility of the novel nanomedicine.<br /> <br /> Candidates are expected to possess a minimum of an upper second class degree (or equivalent) in a relevant Physics, Chemistry, Engineering/Materials science, or Pharmaceutical/biomedical science background. The student will gain hands-on experience in a wide range of interdisciplinary research skills such as nanoparticle synthesis, materials characterisation (e.g. transmission and scanning electron microscopes, x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and dynamic light scattering) as well as mammalian and bacterial culture. This project will be supervised by Dr Zhan Ong (School of Physics and Astronomy/Leeds Institute of Medical Research) and Dr Andrew Kirby (School of Medicine). The student will therefore benefit from working in a vibrant and multidisciplinary environment in the Bragg Centre for Materials Research as well as with staff and students from the Schools of Physics and Medicine at the University of Leeds. Any enquiries relating to the project and/or suitability should be directed to Dr. Ong (z.y.ong@leeds.ac.uk). Applications are invited on an on-going basis but early expressions of interest are strongly encouraged.<br />

<h2 class="heading">How to apply</h2>

<p>Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.leeds.ac.uk/rsa/prospective_students/apply/I_want_to_apply.html">University&#39;s website</a>. Please state clearly in the research information section&nbsp;that the research degree you wish to be considered for is <em>Multifunctional hybrid porous silica nanoparticles for stimuli-responsive delivery of novel antimicrobial agents&nbsp;</em>as well as&nbsp;<a href="https://eps.leeds.ac.uk/physics/staff/4120/dr-zhan-yuin-ong">Dr Zhan Ong</a> as your proposed supervisor.</p> <p>If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University&#39;s minimum English language requirements (below).</p> <p><em>We welcome applications from all suitably-qualified candidates, but UK black and minority ethnic (BME) researchers are currently under-represented in our Postgraduate Research community, and we would therefore particularly encourage applications from UK BME candidates. All scholarships will be awarded on the basis of merit.</em></p>

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">Entry requirements</h2>

Applicants to research degree programmes should normally have at least a first class or an upper second class British Bachelors Honours degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate discipline. The criteria for entry for some research degrees may be higher, for example, several faculties, also require a Masters degree. Applicants are advised to check with the relevant School prior to making an application. Applicants who are uncertain about the requirements for a particular research degree are advised to contact the School or Graduate School prior to making an application.

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">English language requirements</h2>

The minimum English language entry requirement for research postgraduate research study is an IELTS of 6.0 overall with at least 5.5 in each component (reading, writing, listening and speaking) or equivalent. The test must be dated within two years of the start date of the course in order to be valid. Some schools and faculties have a higher requirement.

<h2 class="heading">Funding on offer</h2>

<p><strong>UK&nbsp;students</strong>&nbsp;&ndash;&nbsp;The&nbsp;<a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk/funding/138-leeds-doctoral-scholarships-2021-january-deadline">Leeds Doctoral Scholarship (January deadline)</a>&nbsp;and the&nbsp;<a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk/funding/141-henry-ellison-scholarship-2021">Henry Ellison Scholarship</a>&nbsp;are available to UK applicants. The&nbsp;<a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk/funding/102-bell-burnell-scholarship-award-awarded-by-the-iop">Bell Burnell Scholarship Award</a>&nbsp;is available to support applicants who are from groups that are currently under-represented in physics (awarded by the IOP).&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>International students</strong>&nbsp;&ndash; The&nbsp;<a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk/funding/63-school-of-physics-astronomy-fee-only-scholarship">School of Physics &amp; Astronomy Fee Only Scholarship</a>&nbsp;is available to support the additional academic fees of international applicants. The&nbsp;<a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk/funding/48-china-scholarship-council-university-of-leeds-scholarships-2021">China Scholarship Council - University of Leeds Scholarship</a>&nbsp;is available to nationals of China. The&nbsp;<a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk/funding/73-leeds-marshall-scholarship">Leeds Marshall Scholarship</a>&nbsp;is available to support US citizens. The&nbsp;<a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk/funding/102-bell-burnell-scholarship-award-awarded-by-the-iop">Bell Burnell Scholarship Award</a>&nbsp;is also available to international applicants and supports those who are from groups that are currently under-represented in physics (awarded by the IOP).&nbsp;</p>

<h2 class="heading">Contact details</h2>

<p>For further information regarding your application, please contact Doctoral College Admissions by email: <a href="mailto:maps.pgr.admissions@leeds.ac.uk">maps.pgr.admissions@leeds.ac.uk</a> or by telephone: +44 (0)113 343 5057.</p> <p>For further information regarding the project, please contact Dr Zhan Ong by email: <a href="mailto:Z.Y.Ong@leeds.ac.uk">Z.Y.Ong@leeds.ac.uk</a></p>


<h3 class="heading heading--sm">Linked funding opportunities</h3>
<h3 class="heading heading--sm">Linked research areas</h3>