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Student research project

Supervisor(s): Dr Xiaowei Wang

Project summary

Research in the Molecular Imaging and Theranostics lab is focused on translational research that links the findings from basic science to the practical applications that enhance human health and well-being in clinical settings. Developing new bio-compatible nanoparticles that can be used for targeted delivery and localize the drugs/genetic therapy to the site of disease, thereby eliminating reduce side effects..

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of mortality worldwide. Atherosclerosis, a chronic inflammatory disease, is the underlying cause of most CVDs. Therefore early detection, prevention or regression of atherosclerosis may prevent devastating events such as heart attacks from occurring.

We will create bio-compatible nanoparticles as contrast agents for imaging and drug carriers. These nanoparticles gives us the flexibility to incorporate drugs to increase their payload and/or apply them in gene delivery. By targeting these nanoparticles to the biomarkers of atherosclerosis, we can investigate their functions as novel theranostic (simultaneous diagnosis and therapy) approaches.

Therefore this project would also focus on Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1, which is one of the endothelial surface molecules most strongly and specifically up-regulated in inflammation. We propose to conjugate VCAM-1 targeting recombinant antibodies onto nanoparticles for diagnosis imaging and targeted delivery of pharmacological or genetic treatment.

Significance: With steadily increasing health care expenses, targeted theranostic nanoparticles can provide early diagnosis and treatment of atherosclerosis, thereby preventing further CVDs.

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, animal models and statistics.

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