Atmospheric pressure non-thermal plasma or simply cold plasmas is a partially ionized gas generated at atmospheric pressure, at temperatures suitable for treatment of heat sensitive surfaces such as skin. This technology has demonstrated effectiveness for the control of microbial biofilms, combining its antimicrobial effects with modulation of cellular behaviors (i.e. immune cell activation and cell proliferation) leading to its primary clinical use for the treatment of chronic infected wounds. Cold plasma interacts with the exposed environment altering the aqueous milieu within tissue resulting in changes to pH, conductivity as well as the production of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (RONS) such as hydrogen peroxide, nitrites, nitrates that interact with components within the environment, as well as having a role in cell signaling.
This project seeks to address the rising tide of antimicrobial resistance through optimization of antibiotic treatments alongside cold plasma technology for the amelioration of persistent infections due to intracellular infections. This project aims to understand and develop how cold plasma technology can be utilized to enhance cellular drug uptake of nanoparticle loaded antibiotics thereby inactivating extracellular bacteria and improving clearance of intracellular bacteria using shortened plasma treatments and reduced drug doses. This is an inter-disciplinary research proposal at the leading of edge of Plasma Medicine bringing together plasma physics with cell and micro-biology; integrating nascent cold plasma technology with drug delivery research.
Applicants should have a 1st or 2.1 honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject. Relevant subjects include Pharmacy, Molecular Biology, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Biochemistry, Biological/Biomedical Sciences, Chemistry, Engineering, or a closely related discipline. Students who have a 2.2 honours degree and a Master’s degree may also be considered, but the School reserves the right to shortlist for interview only those applicants who have demonstrated high academic attainment to date
Postgraduate Research applicants for Pharmacy who are interested in applying for a fully funded DFE studentship must have applied to Queen’s, via the Direct Applications Portal, and submitted all required supporting documents by the closing date, which will be announced later in the Academic year.
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