Doctoral fellowship - joind PhD Antwerp University
- You prepare a doctoral thesis at the crossroads of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences on the research topic described below.
- You perform scientific research and report on your results by actively participating in scientific conferences and by writing high-quality, peer-reviewed articles.
- You contribute to a limited extent to educational and scientific outreach activities
- A doctoral scholarship for a period of one year, which can be prolonged to a total of 4 years after a positive evaluation;
- The start date of scholarship is as soon as possible, but no later than October 1st, 2019.
- A cutting-edge research project in a dynamic and stimulating work environment where the candidate will be exposed to various state-of-the art technologies
Profile of the candidate
Photoporation is emerging as a powerful new technology for safe and efficient intracellular delivery of a wide variety of compounds. This is of major interest to various applications, such as the intracellular delivery of nucleic acids for the creation of modified cell lines, contrast agents like quantum dots for live cell labeling, or pharmaceutical compounds like antisense oligonucleotides for therapy. Photoporation relies on laser illumination of light-responsive nanoparticles that can transiently make the plasma membrane more permeable by local heating or pressure effects, allowing external compounds to diffuse into the cells. While it has been amply demonstrated that photoporation does not cause acute cytotoxicity, it remains unknown how it affects cell physiology at the short and longer term. Yet, this information is crucial to safely implement the technology in different settings, including for the modification of cells for cell-based therapies. Therefore, the purpose of this PhD project is to unravel the cellular response to photoporation on different relevant cell types. We will thereby focus on the early downstream events such as the activation of membrane repair pathways and induction of cellular stress levels, as well as more persistent changes in gene expression and genome integrity. The fundamental insights from these studies will provide a solid basis for making photoporation a standard transfection technology that can be used with confidence. At the same time, it will help devise strategies to reduce or exploit potential side effects of photoporation.
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