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Student research project

Supervisor(s): Associate Professor Xiaowei Wang and Dr Mark Vidallon

This project is focused on the development of novel nanoparticles of diagnostic imaging or targeted delivery.

Project summary

Research in the Molecular Imaging and Theranostics lab focuses on translational research that aims to connect the findings from basic science to practical applications that can improve human health in clinical settings. We are developing bio-compatible tiny nanoparticles that can deliver medications or genetic therapies directly to disease sites in the body. This approach helps us minimise side-effects and maximise the effectiveness of treatments.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death worldwide. Most CVDs are caused by a chronic inflammatory disease called atherosclerosis. Detecting atherosclerosis early, preventing its progression, or even reversing it can help prevent catastrophic events like heart attacks.

In our lab, we're working on creating tiny particles that are safe for the body and can be used to image the diseased areas and carry medications. To achieve this, we are creating nanoparticles that are safe for the body and can be used to visualise and deliver medications. By incorporating contrast agents into these nanoparticles, we can make them visible on various imaging technologies, such as MRI or ultrasound scans. These particles can be loaded with drugs to increase their effectiveness or used to deliver genetic therapies. By targeting these particles to specific markers of atherosclerosis, we can explore new ways to diagnose and treat the disease simultaneously.

Significance: By using targeted particles for diagnosis and treatment, we can catch atherosclerosis early and provide timely interventions, thus preventing further cardiovascular diseases. This approach is particularly valuable considering the rising costs of healthcare, as it allows for early detection and treatment, potentially saving lives and reducing healthcare expenses in the long run.

Related methods, skills or technologies

The project is suitable for an Honours, Masters or PhD student and will involve applying various skills and techniques, including biomaterial selections, generation of nano-/micro-particles, cell cultures, flow cytometry, flow adhesion assays, microscopy, animal models and statistics.

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