The development of new vaccine technologies that are targeted, effective, and programmable is increasingly being recognised as one of the key industrial challenges in chemical biology. The packing of vaccines , both protein- and RNA-based, inside a lipid-bound compartment is currently at the forefront of approaches to a more effective delivery mode of the active agents. The majority of vaccine delivery vehicles share a common structural motif, namely that of a single compartment encased by a lipid layer; this lack of architectural diversity has hindered their technological potential.
We know from biology that step changes in sophistication of chemical microsystems can be achieved by having non-uniform spatial organisation; this is achieved through compartmentalisation of content in discrete spatial locations. In this project, novel vaccine delivery vehicles will be developed using microfluidic technologies, where the size, membrane composition, encapsulated cargo, and number of compartments can be ‘dialled-in’ on demand. To do this, the student will develop underlying microfluidic platforms for the layer-by-layer assembly of a suite of lipid membrane motifs using a molecular assembly line. The ability of these structures to house both the antigen and adjuvant in different compartments will be explored, together with their potential for multi-stage release of a vaccine payload.
This project has funding for UK/EU students.
The project would suit a candidate with a background in Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Bioengineering and related disciplines.