Novel low-fouling biopolymers for biomedical applications

This Earmarked Scholarship project is aligned with a recently awarded Category 1 research grant. It offers you the opportunity to work with leading researchers and contribute to large projects of national significance.

Supervisor – Professor Andrew Whittakera.whittaker@uq.edu.au

Low fouling polymers play an important role in moderating interactions of dissolved molecules and particles with cells. In the pharmaceutical sciences they are essential tools for extending pharmacokinetics of dissolved drugs. However, the widely-used low-fouling polymer, poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) is coming under increasing scrutiny due to observation of anti-PEG antibodies. Alternatives to PEG are desperately needed. We introduce in this project super-hydrophilic polymers incorporating sulfoxide groups, indeed mimics of the solvent DMSO. The project will explore how molecular architecture can be manipulated to enhance biocompatibility, using experimental and computational approaches. The PhD student will receive training in cross-discipline research, including preparation of low fouling polymers, measurement of interactions with proteins and cells, and participate in modelling of these interactions.

Preferred educational background

Applications will be judged on a competitive basis taking into account the applicant's previous academic record, publication record, honours and awards, and employment history.

A working knowledge of chemical or biomedical sciences would be of benefit to someone working on this project.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field(s) of chemistry or associated discipline and the potential for scholastic success.

A background or knowledge of chemistry, cell or molecular biology is highly desirable.

*The successful candidate must commence by Research Quarter 1, 2022. You should apply at least 3 months prior to the research quarter commencement date. International applicants may need to apply much earlier for visa reasons.

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