2017 – PhD position available


3 year PhD scholarship for 2017: “Development of Protein-based Nanocompartments for the Delivery of Anticancer Drugs”

The Project: Compartmentalisation is an important organisational feature of life that allows otherwise incompatible biochemical processes to function cohesively within a cell. It occurs at varying levels of complexity, from eukaryotic organelles and bacterial microcompartments, to viral capsids and even the molecular reaction chambers formed by enzyme assemblies. Encapsulins are a newly reported class of protein-based nanocompartments produced in bacteria and archaea. They are typically composed of multiple copies of a single protein subunit, which self-assemble with precision to form hollow cage-like nanostructures that are uniform in composition, size and morphology. Encapsulins have been recently used to encapsulate foreign cargo, such as recombinant proteins and inorganics. In addition, the external and internal surfaces of these nanocompartments can be easily genetically engineered to display short peptide sequences (e.g. cancer-targeting peptides) that can further enhance their functionality. Accordingly, encapsulins represent a promising alternative to the lipid, polymer, and inorganic-based compartments that are currently used as vehicles for the encapsulation and targeted delivery of therapeutics. This project aims to develop modified encapsulins for the targeted and controlled delivery and release of anticancer therapeutics within brain tumours. The viability and effectiveness of the modified encapsulins as drug delivery vehicles, will be evaluated using both in vitro (e.g. drug loading and dissolution testing), and in vivo models (e.g. therapeutic efficacy and toxicity).

Candidate requirements: The successful student will join a dynamic and motivated team with a multidisciplinary approach to research. The ideal candidate should have a background in biomedical science, biochemistry, synthetic biology or a related field. In addition, some practical experience in tissue culture, cellular assays, animal models of cancer biology, flow cytometry, microscopy, and data analysis is desirable. Demonstrated aptitude for undertaking laboratory work and an understanding of the field as well as excellent communication skills.

Prospective PhD applicants should have completed the equivalent of Macquarie University’s Master of Research (MRes) degree, MPhil or other 2 year Masters degree with a major research component with:

  • An outstanding academic record
  • A history of scholarships and prizes at the undergraduate level
  • Evidence of peer-reviewed research activity, such as publications and/or conference presentations.
  • Proof of English Proficiency either through an IELTS or a TOEFL test

Please refer to the University HDR Entry Criteria for more eligibility information.

Send your detailed CV for assessment to:

A/Prof Anwar Sunna (anwar.sunna@mq.edu.au)

Department of Chemistry and Biomolecular Sciences Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia



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