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Institute of Advanced Study

Dynamic Interactions at Cell Membrane Interfaces


Project Title: Dynamic Interactions at Cell Membrane Interfaces

Theme(s): Medical Futures

Summary: Membrane Nanoparticles (MNPs) are small vesicles ubiquitously released into bodily fluids from cells. They have therapeutic potential in immune therapy, vaccination, regenerative medicine, drug delivery, personalized medicine and point-of-care market (projected £1 billion/year by 2022).

A handful of recent reports have shown that the physical properties of MNPs can be related to their function, in particular with respect to ageing, cancer and diabetes propagation. This presents a unique, but time sensitive, opportunity for low cost and fast, point-of-care and longitudinally based biodiagnostics relying on cheaper and more easily accessible physical properties of MNPs from liquid biopsies (e.g. lab-on-chip platform).

This project aims at (i) exploiting technology developed by engineers and physicists at Durham University to measure the biophysical properties of synthetic membrane nano-vesicles will be tested on natural MNPs for future lab-on-chip diognostic. (ii) It will develop an interdisciplinary network of UK scientists and companies interested in the field, starting from the expertise available here at Durham, but also including strategic key players. This is crucial for the development of the field in the UK post Brexit. The network will serve as springboard for initiating grant applications to external funding bodies (RCUK, Wellcome Trust, etc).

Term: Epiphany 2019

Principal Investigator: Dr Kislon Voitchovsky, Department of Physics, kislon.voitchovsky@durham.ac.uk

IAS Fellows: Professor David E Williams – University of Auckland; Professor Borys Snopok – National Academy of Science Ukraine; Professor Jurriaan Huskens – University of Twente; Dr Zakaria Almsherqi – National University of Singapore; Professor Cedric Carteret - University of Lorraine