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Durham University

Institute of Advanced Study

Dynamic Interactions at Cell Membrane Interfaces


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

PROJECT EVENTS 2018/19


Seminars

Thursday 11 October: 1:00pm to 2:00pm, Room E005, Department of Engineering
Professor Boris Snopok (Institute of Semiconductor Physics, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine - 'Multivariate sensing arrays'
Professor David E Williams (University of Auckland) - 'So you want to be a technology entrepreneur?'

Thursday 08 November: 1:00pm to 2:00pm, Room E005, Department of Engineering
Professor Boris Snopok (Institute of Semiconductor Physics, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine) - 'Principles of conservative evolution or the boundaries of our freedom'
Professor David E Williams (University of Auckland) - 'From sensors to networks of low-cost air quality measurement instruments'

Thursday 06 December: 1:00pm to 2:00pm, Room CG83, Department of Chemistry
Professor Boris Snopok (Institute of Semiconductor Physics, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine) - 'How can plasmonics help biology and medicine'
Professor David E Williams (University of Auckland) - 'Design of miniature bio-assay devices'

Workshops

Friday 12 October: 12:00pm to 1:00pm, Room W010, Geography Department
Professor Boris Snopok (Institute of Semiconductor Physics, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine); Professor David E Williams (University of Auckland)
Self-assembling peptides and proteins as templates for functional nanostructures
Electrochemistry at the living cell membrane-solution interface


Friday 09 November: 12:00pm to 1:00pm, Room W010, Geography Department
Professor Boris Snopok (Institute of Semiconductor Physics, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine); Professor David E Williams (University of Auckland)
Bioelectrochemical energy generation and storage using robust marine organisms
Self-assembling peptides and proteins as templates for functional nanostructures

Friday 07 December 12:00pm to 1:00pm, Room W010, Geography Department
Professor Boris Snopok (Institute of Semiconductor Physics, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine); Professor David E Williams (University of Auckland)
“Emergent” phenomena from self-assembled nanostructures
Electrostatic effects at the nanoscale

Lectures

Multivalent interactions: From molecular design to biological function

23rd January 2019, 14:00 to 15:00, Lecture Theatre Ph30, (Physics Department, Rochester Building

This talk will focus on the science and technology of multivalent chemical and biological interactions, e.g. of viruses at cell membranes.


Public Lecture - Small solutions for big problems: Nanoscience contributing to artificial photosynthesis

28th February 2019, 17:30 to 18:30, Sheraton Park, Ustinov College


Abstract

The climate change we are currently experiencing requires solutions at the fronts of alternative energy sources, alternative raw materials, and circular design of process and products. The energy transition is currently in full swing, but fully converting to climate-neutral solutions brings about new challenges. Some of these challenges will require better technology, but also societal acceptance and economical viability are important aspects. This lecture will focus on nanoscientific and nanotechnological aspects of some of the challenges and their possible solutions, in particular for creating efficient solar fuel devices. At the same time we’ll zoom out by reviewing and addressing some aspects of scale, economy, and the global nature of the problem.

Outcomes/Publications