Marie Curie Early Stage Researcher/PhD student
Project title: Nanoparticles for neural stem cells drug delivery: development of novel nanogels
Summary: This project is part of a large consortium called NANOSTEM (www.nanostem.qmul.ac.uk), researching within the frame of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network and funded by the European Commission through the Horizon 2020 Research and Innovative programme.
I will be working along with two ESRs to develop nanoparticles for neural stem cells drug delivery. The major milestone of my work will be the formulation of acrylate-based nanogels able to cross the blood brain barrier (BBB) and specifically concentrate in the neurogenic niches.
Three main objectives have been set for this project. Given the multidisciplinary field of brain drug delivery, it should be noted that these targets might not be delivered in sequence. First, I will synthesise and characterise acrylate-based nanogels with different combination of monomers, co-monomers and cross-linkers. The nanogels prepared will be fully characterised and the impact of chemical composition on the morphology of the nanogels studied. The characterisation of the nanogels will include protein corona formation and in vitro stability assessments. The second part will focus on drug loading and release studies. The best conditions for both small molecules and biopharmaceuticals encapsulation will be determined as well. The third part of this work will be carried out in collaboration with the other NANOSTEM partners and during the scheduled secondments. During my secondment at CNC (Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology-University of Coimbra, Portugal), I will mainly focus on the in vitro cytotoxicity assay of those formulations that showed the best results in the preliminary studies.