Engineering nanoparticles for improved vaccine delivery

In recent years there has been significant advances in vaccine technology to treat diseases such as HIV, flu and even cancer. However, a number of these new vaccines are limited in their in vivo activity as they degraded too readily by the body. Encapsulating the vaccine in nanoparticles protects the vaccine from degradation and can target it to specific immune cells.We have developed a new self-assembling polymer system which allows us to control the size and degradability by altering the composition of the particles. In this project, you will investigate the formulation of particles by varying the molecular weight of polymers used, and load a model vaccine into the carrier.

This project will involve some basic polymer synthesis, as well as materials characterisation by DLS, electron microscopy, and high-resolution fluorescence microscopy. Interactions of the particles with cells will also be investigated using live cell microscopy.