Research

Association of polymers and small solute molecules with phospholipid membranes

Theoretical physics, theory in soft matter, computer simulations

Objectives
In many cases the properties of cell membranes are modified through biopolymers and small solute molecules such as anesthetics or neurotransmitters. They can associate to membranes and significantly alter their structure, either thermodynamic state or induce reorganization in form of pores. The project aims to describe the fundamental […]

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Investigation and characterization of RNA-loaded liposome vaccines

Experimental methods and characterisation techniques
Description
We have previously demonstrated that certain combinations of lipids within a liposome formulation enable the highly effective delivery of RNA liposome vaccines to cells. However, such formulations have to date only been prepared at laboratory scale and methods are required whereby they can be manufactured in sufficient quantities for clinical trials […]

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ER2-B: Investigation of membrane permeating materials in biostabilisation

Experimental methods and characterisation techniques in cell preservation and biostabilisation
Objectives
Evaluate how size, shape and physical nature (net charge, pH responsiveness and nanoparticle and CNT characteristics) affect their interaction with membranes. These studies aim to link transfection efficiency from different therapeutic models (size, charge and proteins versus DNA) with the structural design of the therapeutic nanoparticles, […]

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ER1-U: Delivery of skin bioactives to assess the impact of membrane lytic biopolymers

Impact of membrane lytic biopolymers on skin lipid membranes
Contact
Radka Petkova
Objectives
Exploration  of  the  possibilities  in  obtaining  of  end  product  and  involvement  of  the  private sector in the training program.

Exploring opportunities to implement the findings from different work programs into product relevant system;
Identify potential gaps in the available toolbox for studying nano-object interactions with membrane lipid bi-layers and […]

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ESR11-F: Delivery of molecular payloads through primary human cell membrane

In-vitro experiments on living cells, toxicology studies
Contact
Andre Dias
Objectives
The goal is to compare and validate the synthetic lipid models to biologically relevant cell types and to investigate how different nano-objects interact with representative lipid single and bilayers compared to human cells with and without therapeutic incorporation.
Tasks and methodology

Cellular uptake of fluorescence-labelled nano-complexes will be checked by […]

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ESR12-F: Toxicity of nano-objects on human cells models

In-vitro experiments on living cells, toxicology studies
Contact
Anna Orlowska
Objectives
Main objective is to compare, validate and corroborate the findings of the interaction of the nano-objects synthesised by the network to actual human cell models with the findings observed with the lipid membrane model systems.
Tasks and methodology
Recruited ESR will obtain experience in toxicity, cell- and molecular biological methodology […]

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ESR10-C: Bioengineering of membrane associating polymers and polymer-protein complexes

Investigation of membrane associating polymers, therapeutic nanoparticles and cell preservation experiments
Biotechnology and and bioengineering, experimental
Contact
Alex Chen
Objectives

A safe polymer technology, which can be fine-tuned to deliver a wide variety of payloads into cells for various applications.
Novel pH-responsive, biodegradable polymers will be synthesized to mimic the activity of viruses, both in their cell entry and endosomal escape […]

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ESR9-M: Investigation of interaction of membrane-lytic molecules with lipid monolayer

Supported bilayers and vesicles
Objectives
The intention of this project is to obtain experimental information and feedback for system improvement of nano-objects interacting with model membranes (supported bilayers and vesicles).

to apply a combination of techniques including neutron reflectivity, SANS (Manchester, Unilever), AFM, TEM (Strasbourg, Manchester) to characterise supported lipid bilayers and model vesicles;
to  investigate  how  different  nano-objects  […]

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ESR7-S: Optical microscopy and microrheology of giant unilamellar vesicles interacting with nano-objects

Experimental investigation of unilamellar vesicles and their dynamics
Description
Experimental project on the morphological and mechanical changes in lipid vesicles caused by exposure to the nano-objects, by means of epi- and confocal fluorescence studies.
Emphasis will be put on understanding the influence of lipid composition, oxidation and investigating the membrane structure changes using ratiometric fluorescent probes.

Starting date
December 2014
Methods and […]

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ESR8-S: Kinetics of nanoscale structural changes occurring in small unilamellar vesicles

Experimental investigation of unilamellar vesicles using microscopy techniques
Contact
Monika Kluzek
Description
Experimental project on small unilamellar lipid vesicles (SUV) interacting with nanoparticles, with special emphasis on the use of transmission electron microscopy (cryo-TEM). This project will consist in elaborating, characterizing and studying in detail decorated liposomes, using state of the art techniques such as EM tomography and time […]

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ESR6-L: Atomistic and coarse-grained simulations of the interactions of nano-objects and biosurfactants with lipid bilayers

Objectives
This project is focused on the study of the interactions of nano-objects and biosurfactants with lipid bilayers using continuum theory and atomistic and coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulations.

Equilibrium state of stratum corneum (SC) lipid bilayers in contact with keratin corneocytes;
Interaction of nanoparticles and proteins with SC lipid bilayers;
Understanding the role of strongly-asymmetric ceramides in the structure […]

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ESR5-L: Synthesis and characterization of functional biomimetic polymers for intracellular delivery

Chemical synthesis, characterisation of polymers and nano-objects
Objectives
This project is focused on development of functional biomimetic polymers which can traverse across cellular membranes to deliver payloads into the cell interior.

Synthesis and characterization of pH-responsive, membrane-active polymers.
Preparation of therapeutic nanoparticles incorporating chemotherapeutic agents or biological molecules.
Understanding and controlling of the trafficking of polymers into a model cellular […]

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ESR4-D: Molecular dynamics simulations of lipid bilayers and their interactions with nano-objects

Theoretical physics, theory in soft matter, computer simulations
Contact
Chanfei Su
Objectives
The challenge of this project is to understand the role of molecular properties of self-organized phosphor-lipid bilayers on the interaction behaviour with nano-objects such as spherical nanoparticles, stiff rods and protein-like copolymers:

Implementing an appropriately coarse-grained model for bilayer membranes based on highly parallelized LAMPS-code.
Dynamics of lipids and […]

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ESR3-D: Monte Carlo simulations of lipid membranes and their interactions with copolymers

Theoretical physics, theory in soft matter, computer simulations
Contact
Ankush Checkervarty
Objectives
The challenge of this project is to rationalize the inter effective interactions between amphiphilic copolymers and self-organized lipid bilayer membranes using coarse-grained Monte Carlo methods:

Analyze the effect of many copolymers interacting with a fluctuating membrane
Finding copolymer sequences which match particular tasks such as increasing permeation or disruption
Simulating membranes […]

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ESR2-T: Molecular simulation models of biomimetic polymers in lipid bilayers

Theoretical physics, theory in soft matter, computer simulations
Contact
Adrien Berthault
Objectives
The aim of this project is to understand the interactions of lipid membranes with nano-objects including functional biomimetic polymers, polymeric micelles, carbon nanotubes and polymer therapeutic complexes/conjugates to enable the intelligent design of novel materials with improved bilayer modifying properties. A full range of theoretical methods will be […]

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ESR1-T: Computer simulations of equilibrium structures of lipid membranes and nano-objects

Theoretical physics, theory in soft matter, computer simulations
Contact
Berardo Manzi
Objectives
The aim of this project is to understand the interactions of lipid membranes with nano-objects including functional biomimetic polymers, polymeric micelles, carbon nanotubes and polymer therapeutic complexes/conjugates to enable the intelligent design of novel materials with improved bilayer modifying properties. A full range of theoretical methods will be […]

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