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Engineering nanomaterials for intracellular delivery in regenerative medicine

Project details

First supervisor: Dr Ciro Chiappini

Second supervisor: Professor Khuloud Al Jamal

Sponsor: European Research Council (ERC)

Funding available: £21,336 (to cover MRC rate stipend and tuition fees)

Duration of award: Three years

Mode of study: Full-time

Eligibility: Home/EU

Start date: 1 October 2019

Application deadline: 16 May 2019

Reference number: 2019/DOCS/04

Project description

Informal applications are strongly encouraged by inquiring with ciro.chiappini@kcl.ac.uk .

This position is to conduct an ERC-funded research project. This exciting project aims to investigate the mechanisms activated by the interaction of cells with nanomaterials and leverage them to control the intracellular fate of the cargo. The work follows up on our research on the biointerface of nanoneedles for drug delivery outlined in Chiappini et al. Nat Mater 2015, Chiappini et al. ACS Nano 2015, Gopal et al. Adv Mater 2019.

Delivering biological agents inside cells in a way that maintains their bioactivity is a major challenge faced by nanomedicine. In particular the delivery of agents such as nucleic acids, peptides and proteins require effective protection from degradation outside the cell together with an accurate targeting to their site of biological action inside the cell, bypassing the endolysosomal system. A vast range of nanomaterials have been developed to address these challenges, including natural and synthetic vesicles, polymer-, metal- and semiconductor-based nanoparticles, multi-stage approaches and more recently nanowires and nanoneedles. In particular it is known that geometry and surface chemistry of nanomaterials are crucial in determining their interaction with cells and the fate of the cargo, but there is still a pressing need to understand how nanomaterials can be designed to leverage specific cellular processes that direct cargo to the cell cytoplasm and nucleus. This project will address these challenges blending nanotechnology, biophotonics techniques and advanced cellular and molecular biology.

The Chiappini lab is a highly stimulating multidisciplinary environment focussing on engineering nanomaterials to manipulate cell behaviour. Research in the lab spans across nanomedicine, tissue engineering and biosensing. Researchers in the lab leverage expertise from material science and engineering, cell and molecular biology and biointerface sciences. The lab is located within the Centre for Craniofacial and Regenerative Biology, one of the Centres of Excellence at King’s College London. King’s is a leading international university, member of the Russel Group of UK research-intensive universities. The Faculty of Dentistry, Oral and Craniofacial sciences is recognised as second in the world for dentistry in the QS World University Rankings 2020. 

Person specification

  • Degree in Bioengineering, Chemistry, Biology or similar.
  • Evidence of laboratory experience in related field.
  • Evidence of strong work ethics and productivity.
  • Good record of collegiality.

Research training

  • Nanomedicine
  • Nanofabrication
  • Drug Delivery
  • Cell culturing
  • High-content imaging
  • Molecular biology (immunofluorescence, qPCR, western blot, ELISA, etc…)

To view entry requirements and further information, see the Dental and Health Sciences Research MPhil/PhD

Next steps

How to apply

Please apply online at apply.kcl.ac.uk following these steps:

  1. Register a new account/login
  2. Once logged in, select Create a new application
  3. Enter ‘Dental and Health Sciences Research MPhil/PhD (Full-time)' under Choose a programme. Please ensure you select the correct mode of study
  4. Select 1 October 2019 as the start date. Please ensure applications are received by the deadline in this listing.

Please note: Applicants must include the project reference number in the 'Research proposal' and 'Funding (point 5)' sections of the application.

Contact for further information

Dr Ciro Chiappini (ciro.chiappini@kcl.ac.uk)

Related Centre: Centre for Craniofacial & Regenerative Biology.

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