Nanoparticle-based therapeutics to combat multidrug resistance and biofilms in chronic wound infections

  • Self Funded
  • Leeds, England
  • Posted 2 months ago
  • Deadline: Open all year round

University of Leeds

Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences

Project Description

Chronic wound infections are a significant and fast-growing global healthcare problem compounded by the widespread occurrence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. In the UK alone, annual healthcare costs associated with chronic wounds including diabetic wounds, pressure ulcers, and non-healing surgical wounds were estimated to be 5.3 billion pounds. Due to the polymicrobial nature and prevalence of biofilms in non-healing wounds, many existing therapies including surgical debridement, antibiotics therapy, and use of wound dressings are ineffective. This project aims to improve the treatment of chronic wound infections by developing novel gold nanoparticle-antimicrobial peptide conjugates (AuNP-AMPs) for the broad-spectrum, synergistic photothermal-antimicrobial chemotherapy of planktonic bacteria and biofilms. Key goals of this project include: (1) synthesis and characterisation of AuNP-AMPs with strong near infrared absorbance using a novel peptide-templated approach, (2) evaluation of the potential of combining broad-spectrum antimicrobial activities of conjugated AMPs with targeted photothermal ablation for the enhanced eradication of drug-resistant pathogens/biofilms, (3) demonstration of enhanced protease stability in conjugated AMPs and investigation of antimicrobial mechanisms of action, and (4) evaluation of in vitro biocompatibility.

This project will suit a self-motivated student with a Pharmacy, Chemistry, Physics, Engineering, Biomedical or other relevant background. The student will gain hands-on experience in a wide range of interdisciplinary research skills such as nanoparticle synthesis, materials characterisation (e.g. TEM/SEM, XPS, and DLS) as well as mammalian and bacterial culture to address a major global health challenge in antimicrobial resistance. The student will benefit from working in a vibrant and multidisciplinary environment in the Bragg Centre for Materials Research as well as with staff and students from the Schools of Physics and Medicine at the University of Leeds.

Funding Information

This project is open to applicants who are able to self-fund their studies or are externally sponsored.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicants to research degree programmes should normally have at least a first class or an upper second class British Bachelors Honours degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate discipline. The criteria for entry for some research degrees may be higher, for example, several faculties, also require a Masters degree. Applicants are advised to check with the relevant School prior to making an application. Applicants who are uncertain about the requirements for a particular research degree are advised to contact the School or Graduate School prior to making an application.

The minimum English language entry requirement for research postgraduate research study is an IELTS of 6.0 overall with at least 5.5 in each component (reading, writing, listening and speaking) or equivalent. The test must be dated within two years of the start date of the course in order to be valid. Some schools and faculties have a higher requirement.

Application Process

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 research degree you wish to be considered for is Nanoparticle-based therapeutics to combat multidrug resistance and biofilms in chronic wound infections as well as Dr Zhan Ong as your proposed supervisor.

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

We welcome 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.

Supplementary Information

For further information regarding your application, please contact Doctoral College Admissions
e: [email protected], t: +44 (0)113 343 5057.

For further information regarding the project, please contact Dr Zhan Ong
e: [email protected]

To apply for this PhD, please use the following application link: