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PhD studentship in Bio-Hybrid Materials for the Design of DNA Vaccines

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This is a 1+3 MRes + PhD studentship funded by MedImmune to start in October 2017, and is open to eligible UK and EU applicants.

We are currently recruiting an outstanding PhD candidate for a project involving the development of new bioinspired hybrid materials using hydrogel coated nanoparticles for the design of DNA vaccines for cancer immunotherapy. The project is a collaborative research program between the Department of Chemical Engineering & Biotechnology at the University of Cambridge and MedImmune.

Although promising, development of efficient cancer immunotherapies has been challenged by unfavourable pharmacokinetics, significant side effects and inefficient intracellular delivery to induce a sufficient anti-cancer immune response.  One of the most attractive approaches, due to the low cost and the simplicity of the vaccine design and manufacture, is to use pathogen DNA to recruit immune cells to the affected areas.  This collaborative project lies at the interface between nanotechnology, chemistry and biology and it is based on the development of novel DNA conjugates, preparation of stabilising vaccine carriers and the development of a microneedle patch system.

You will be part of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Sensor Technologies and Applications (, which has a yearly intake of around ten students. During the first year you will participate in a highly interdisciplinary taught course consisting of lectures, practicals and research projects covering a wide range of technologies and applications in sensing and imaging as well as business related courses. Successful completion of the first year will lead to a Master of Research qualification (MRes) after which you will be optimally prepared for your MedImmune PhD project in years 2-4.

The ideal candidate will have a 1st or upper 2nd class degree or equivalent in chemistry, biotechnology, biochemistry, chemical engineering, or a related scientific discipline, and experience in cross-disciplinary work. Previous experience in drug delivery systems, nanomaterials design (oxidic and noble metal nanoparticles), DNA modification or cell delivery are welcome. This is a multidisciplinary project and the successful candidate will benefit from an extensive peer-group of researchers, as well as an important interaction between academia and industry.

More information about the research project can be found at:

For informal enquiries please contact Dr Ljiljana Fruk (

For more information about the Sensor CDT and how to apply please visit

The deadline for applications is 31st of May 2017.

Please note that the funding for this studentship is available for UK and EU applicants only.

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