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Novel nanoparticle-loaded formulations to enhance the locoregional delivery of anticancer drugs to brain tumours


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Key facts

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

Glioblastoma (GBM) is the deadliest form of primary brain tumour with an extremely poor survival duration of less than 15 months. The treatment of GBM involves surgical debulking of the tumour mass, followed by radio/chemotherapy. However, residual cancer cells remain in the so-called margin zone and are responsible for the inevitable recurrence and resistance to treatment. We have recently developed a simple and versatile synthetic method to produce highly uniform porous silica nanoparticles with intrinsic cancer targeting and pH responsive drug release properties. This project aims to develop a novel formulation comprised of the organic-inorganic hybrid nanoparticles that can enhance the penetration and delivery of anticancer drugs following local administration in the brain. The student will first prepare and characterise the release of anticancer drug loaded nanoparticles from the formulation. Subsequently, the effect of surface chemistry and particle size on the penetration and cellular accumulation of the nanoparticles will be studied in 2D and 3D patient-derived GBM cell models using high resolution electron microscopy and fluorescence microscopy techniques. The degradation profiles of the novel nanoparticle-loaded formulation will be evaluated under physiologically relevant conditions. Biocompatibility of the novel formulation will be studied using various patient-derived brain relevant cell types. <br /> <br /> This project is well-suited to highly motivated students with a keen interest in the interdisciplinary area of Nanotechnology for biomedical applications. Students are expected to possess a minimum of an upper second-class degree (or equivalent) in a relevant Pharmacy, Biomedical Science, Chemistry, Physics or Engineering background. The successful candidate will be trained in a wide range of highly desirable skills in the field of Nanomedicine, Drug delivery, and Biomaterials such as nanoparticle fabrication, use of electron microscopes (TEM/SEM) and confocal microscopes, drug loading and release, in vitro 2D and 3D cell culture and/or animal work. The student will 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. <br />

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

<p>Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the&nbsp;<a href="">University&#39;s website</a>. Please state clearly in the Planned Course of Study that you are applying for <em><strong>PHD Physics &amp; Astronomy FT</strong></em> and in the research information section&nbsp;that the research degree you wish to be considered for is <strong><em>Novel nanoparticle-loaded formulations to enhance the locoregional delivery of anticancer drugs to brain tumours</em></strong>&nbsp;as well as&nbsp;<a href="">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 style="margin-bottom:11px"><span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><em><span style="font-size:15.0pt"><span style="background:white"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,sans-serif"><span style="color:#4a4a4a">As an international research-intensive university, we welcome students from all walks of life and from across the world. We foster an inclusive environment where all can flourish and prosper, and we are proud of our strong commitment to student education. Across all Faculties we are dedicated to diversifying our community and we welcome the unique contributions that individuals can bring, and particularly encourage applications from, but not limited to Black, Asian, people who belong to a minority ethnic community, people who identify as LGBT+ and people with disabilities. Applicants will always be selected based on merit and ability.</span></span></span></span></span></em></span></span></span></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>Self-Funded or externally sponsored students are welcome to apply.</strong></p> <p><strong>UK&nbsp;</strong>&ndash;&nbsp;The&nbsp;<a href="">Akroyd &amp; Brown</a>, <a href="">Frank Parkinson</a> and <a href="">Boothman, Reynolds &amp; Smithells</a> are available to UK applicants. &nbsp;<a href="">Alumni Bursary</a> is available to graduates of the University of Leeds.</p> <p><strong>Non-UK </strong>&ndash; &nbsp;The&nbsp;<a href="">Leeds Marshall Scholarship</a>&nbsp;is available to support US citizens. <a href="">Alumni Bursary</a> is available to graduates of the University of Leeds.</p>

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

<p>For further information regarding your application, please contact Doctoral College Admissions<br /> e:&nbsp;<a href=""></a>, t: +44 (0)113 343 5057.</p> <p>For further information regarding the project, please contact Dr Zhan Ong<br /> e:&nbsp;<a href=""></a>,&nbsp;</p>

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