Novel Polymer Architectures for Controlled Release Applications

Supervisor(s)

Contact Dr Paul Thornton to discuss this project further informally.

Project description

Polymers are frequently utilised as carrier vehicles for the controlled release of a molecular cargo in response to programmed stimulation. The use of stimuli-responsive polymers in this manner enables the release of therapeutic molecules, perfume molecules and dye molecules, amongst others, on-demand, and so has wide-reaching applicability.

This project will focus on the development of novel stimuli-responsive polymers that will primarily be used for the delivery of drug molecules. In particular, key areas that are required to be addressed in order for the polymer-based drug delivery system to be effective include:

  1. High loading of freely loaded drug molecules within the polymer carrier.
  2. Polymer functionalisation to facilitate targeting towards specific tumour sites.
  3. The intracellular delivery of microRNA and modified RNA. The polymers used will be biodegradable and produced by controlled polymerisation techniques to generate drug carriers of consistent dimensions.

Stimuli-responsive elements will be incorporated into the polymer design to maximise the potential application of the polymers produced. Post-polymerisation functionalisation will be done in order to furnish the polymer with elements that enable particular cell targeting and/or polymer tracking in vivo.

The project is varied in its nature, containing aspects of controlled polymer synthesis, biochemistry (polymer functionalisation) and biomaterials chemistry (the formation of drug delivery vehicles). In addition, a range of analytical techniques will be employed to enhance both student learning and project progression.

Entry requirements

Applications are invited from candidates with or expecting a minimum of a UK upper second class honours degree (2:1), and/or a Master's degree in a relevant degree.

If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University’s minimum English Language requirements.

How to apply

Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the university's website. Please state clearly in the research information section that the PhD you wish to be considered for is the 'Novel Polymer Architectures for Controlled Release Applications’ as well as Dr Paul Thornton as your proposed supervisor.

We welcome scholarship 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.

If you require any further information please contact the Graduate School Office e: maps.pgr.admissions@leeds.ac.uk.