Tuneable Drug Release from Silicon Nanoparticles

Porous silicon nanoparticles are very promising as a drug carrier thanks to their high porosity, biodegradability and biocompatibility. However, when using hydrophobic or ionic interactions, it is often difficult to fully control drug release. Therefore we would like to investigate several responsive linkers that will provide controlled and long-term release of drugs. These linkers will release the drug in specific conditions (e.g. using lower pH in tumour microenvironment, in presence of enzymes or via a novel click-release mechanism).

In this project you will investigate several responsive drug linkers and incorporate these into polymers, prepare polymer-coated porous silicon nanoparticles and evaluate the suitability of each responsive linker for controlled drug release.

You can expect to learn about organic chemistry, polymer chemistry, functionalization of silicon nanoparticles and how to carry out drug release studies in physiological media and in cells.