It' s with great honour to have been selected as one of the 329 EU researchers awarded an ERC Consolidator Grant. This grant will enable to expand our efforts in targeting Gliomas using our chemotactic and super-selective platform. I would like to thank all the members of the group who have generated the enabling work, the department and college for the support for the grant and interview preparation.
Chiara Cursi originally from Pisa in Italy has just started her PhD working on multivalent targeting within the Centre for Doctoral Training in Molecular Modelling & Materials Science, UCL and co-sponsored by MedImmune. Chiara is a biologist by training and with a strong background in immunology. She worked 3yrs as a research associate in Oxford before deciding to join us.
It is a great pleasure to welcome Safa to the group. She's started a PhD on chemotactic vesicles where she will be studying how asymmetric vesicles propel, interact one another and move in complex environments. Safa got her MSc in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from Queens Mary College London and she's originally from Bahrain.
This summer all the last year Ph'D student presented their work and our own Senio was awarded the Erwin Prize for best presentation in the Physical Chemistry Section. Well Done!
One more addition to our group comes from Granada (via the Imperial College). We welcome Belén Sola to our group who will be undertaking a PhD project sponsored by the Children with Cancer Research UK and will involve the formulation and delivery of combination therapy for the treatment of paediatric gliomas
It is a great pleasure to welcome Aroa to the group. She's been successful to secure a very prestigious Royal Society Newton International Fellowship this year. Aroa joined us from the group of Maria Vicent in the Centro de Investigación Príncipe Felipe in Valencia Spain. Aroa will be joining our efforts in making biodegradable polymersomes and she'll apply them to deliver drugs across the brain blood barrier to treat gliomas.
This idea was conceived over 10yrs ago, it took us 3yrs to control the asymmetry, 3yrs to generate the proof-of-concept demonstrating propulsion and chemotaxis, 2yrs to understand, repeat, create the adequate controls and over 3yrs to get it published. 3 Ph'Ds , 4 PDRAs, and two important collaborations after, we have finally published our demonstration of chemotactic drug delivery. Thanks and congratulations, to Adrian, Claudia, Denis, Sophie, Lorena, Jens, Gavin, Xiaohe, Juzaili, Jane, and Giorgio.
A warm welcome to Dr Edoardo Scarpa who joined us as PDRA in Precision Nanomedicine and will be helping our efforts to characterise and develop new solutions to target brain gliomas. Edoardo, originally from Italy, studied in Lecce for his BSc and in Parma for his MSc. He subsequently moved to Southhampton where he obtained a MRes and Ph'D in Medicine. Edoardo has a lot of experience in developing and characterising polymersomes for biomedical applications and we are very happy to have him in our team.
Elizabeth Ellis, a PhD student with Dr Tung Chun Lee has been working with us on synthesising pH sensitive block copolymers to make different types of nanoparticles. Elizabeth worked with us for over year to learn how to make copolymers with the help of Alessandro. Here she attached pH sensitive copolymers to gold nanoparticles creating a hybrid system that can be used for both carrying drugs as well as for plasmonic and imaging applications.
During inflammation resolution, neutrophils undergo apoptosis before they are removed by macrophages, but if apoptosis is delayed, neutrophils can cause extensive tissue damage and chronic disease. In this work in collaboration with Steve Renshaw from Sheffield and part of James prolific Ph'D, we show we can use PMPC-PDPA polymersomes to deliver cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor (R)-roscovitine to accelerate inflammation resolution both in vivo and in vitro.