PhD position opportunity in NMR of sugar-based hydrogels at the School of Pharmacy, UEA, Norwich

Sweetening Drug Delivery for Future Therapies: Hydrogels Based on Sugars for Biomedical Applications

Hydrogels are 3D, cross-linked networks of water-soluble polymers and show great promise in biomedical applications, (tissue engineering, regenerative medicine, diagnostics, cellular immobilization, separation of biomolecules or cells). Polysaccharides are excellent biopolymers for hydrogel preparation in biomedical contexts: they are non-toxic, water-soluble, and they can be biodegraded to nontoxic products that are easily assimilated by the body. Great advances in polymer preparation for hydrogels (enzymatic procedures, nanocomposites, etc.) needs to be followed by an understanding at molecular level of the processes of gelation, the role of water, and the impact on final performance. In this project, a collaboration between the School of Pharmacy (UEA) and the John Innes Centre (Norwich Research Park, NRP), we will use state-of-the-art NMR spectroscopy (solution and solid state advanced experiments) to deepen our understanding of the molecular details of novel hydrogel materials based on starch and nanocellulose fibres. We will use cutting-edge glycobiology techniques (enzymatic and click chemistry) for functionalisation of nanocrystalline cellulose, prepare advanced materials (nanocomposite and interpenetrating network hydrogels), and will develop novel NMR spectroscopic protocols to understand the structure and dynamics of the biomaterials. The project will be an excellent opportunity for a motivated candidate to be trained in a highly multidisciplinary cross-institutional environment at the NRP.

Students with, or expecting to attain, at least an upper second class honours degree, or equivalent, are invited to apply. Interested strong candidates can contact Dr. Jesus Angulo (j.angulo@uea.ac.uk).

For further information and to apply, please visit the website: http://www.biodtp.norwichresearchpark.ac.uk (Applications will close on Monday 30th November 2015)