PhD project title and outline, including interdisciplinary dimension:
Development of a Nanomedicine in an Electrospun Patch for Wound Healing (NEW)
Chronic wounds present a major problem for healthcare services and patients globally, with the majority of advanced
wound treatments being largely ineffective. Given the increased likelihood of mortality associated with chronic wounds,
a new effective treatment is an imperative. To that end, this PhD project is centred on the design and delivery of a new
genetic nanomedicine for the efficacious treatment of chronic wounds, which will consist of nanoparticles (NPs) that
contain potent angiogenic and re-epithelialisation microRNA. The NPs will also contain our novel peptide delivery
technology CHAT. CHAT is a 15 amino acid peptide that condenses the microRNA into NPs and delivers the NPs across the
biological barriers so that the cargo is released inside the cell where maximal effect can occur. This PhD will also deliver
human mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) that will stimulate tissue regeneration at chronic wound sites. Both the NPs and
MSCs will be delivered using a biodegradable multi-layer biomaterial as an electrospun patch. This biomaterial will be
tailored to facilitate the temporal release of the nanomedicine and MSCs. The biomaterial will also maintain a
physiologically moist microenvironment that will reduce the incidence of bacterial infection at the chronic wound site.
Interdiscplinarity is critical to the success of the ‘NEW’ PhD. Prof McCarthy QUB will supervise bio-informatic identification
of microRNA, production and characterisation of the NPs along with all in vitro and in vivo studies. Prof Dunne (DCU) is an
engineer and will supervise the fabrication of the electrospun patches ensuring that they accommodate the biological
cargo and retain mechanical function. Dr Enda Kenny is the managing director of Biovotec Ireland that make wound
products and will provide placement opportunities for the PhD student in product development.
Primary Supervisor: Professor Helen McCarthy (Pharmacy)
Secondary Supervisor: Prof. Nicholas Dunne (Chair of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering in the School of Mechanical and Manufacturing
and the Director of the Medical Engineering Research Centre Engineering (MedEng) at DCU)
External Partner/Organisation: Biovotec
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