SLMS Academic Careers Office
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Grand Challenges

16. Intelligent nanomaterials against antibiotic resistant bacteria

Supervisor Pair: George Pasparakis and Sean Nair Potential Student’s Home Department: School of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmaceutics

The simultaneous decelerating rate of new antibiotic discovery and the alarming rise in antibiotic resistance of pathogenic bacteria pose a serious threat to life and a tremendous pressure on developed countries and developing economies. The utilization of novel nanomedicinal based approaches could constitute an alternative powerful strategy for the development of “universal” therapeutic modalities to combat infectious diseases. In this context, the proposed project will focus on the development of new antimicrobial nanoparticulate constructs which will be tested against antibiotic resistant bacterial strains. Hybrid metallic/polymer nanoparticles (NPs) will be synthesized and characterized by conventional physicochemical methods. The proposed NPs will mediate receptor-specific recognition/capturing of the pathogen via multivalent ligand-receptor interactions. Exogenous activation of the NPs by external stimuli (i.e. light, magnetic fields, etc.) will also be exploited as a means to spatiotemporally confine the activity of the nanoparticles. Ultimately, these novel nanomaterials will serve as a means to detect, capture, and deactivate bacterial species of nosocomial significance including Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Escherichia coli. Due to the multidisciplinary nature of the project, training in a range of diverse techniques will be provided, including, synthesis and characterization of metallic nanoparticles, polymers and polymerization reactions, as well as, bacterial cell culture and handling. The project will constitute an excellent research training hub as it will capitalize on the supervisors’ expertise in diverse but complementary areas such as materials sciences, and bacterial microbiology. Finally, the successful PhD candidate will benefit from the excellent research facilities in the UCL School of Pharmacy and the UCL Eastman Dental Institute.