Postgraduate research opportunities

Second generation nano-carriers for pancreatic cancer therapy

Cancer nanomedicine is dominating modern healthcare. This project is an opportunity to contribute to the development of intelligent nanomedicines for targeted triggered release of pharmaceuticals in pancreatic cancer.

Number of places



10 March 2021


Must have an undergraduate degree in relevant discipline and satisfy the University minimal entry requirements for PhD study.

Project Details

Hybrid iron oxide-gold nanoparticles have been shown to have great potential as theranostic agents for cancer therapy [1,2]. The iron oxide core can be used for diagnostic imaging using MRI whilst the gold surface possesses unique optimal properties. When gold nanoparticles or nano-shells are exposed to laser irradiation, they both refract and absorb the light energy and rapidly convert it into heat. This can be exploited as a trigger for drug release.

Our group have shown that hybrid iron oxide-gold nanoparticles can be surface modified with drug molecules through thermally labile mechanisms [1,2]. In our previous work we shown that drug attachment can be reversed at elevated temperatures in order to release. Hence, this system can act as a controlled delivery system by activation (and heat stimulation) using a laser.

In this project we would like to use this established chemistry in order to form a range of second generation particles exploiting combined therapies of anticancer drugs for pancreatic cancer treatment.


Techniques used:

Chemical synthesis, HPLC, FTIR, ICP, photon correlation spectroscopy, transmission electron microscopy, biological testing in cancer models



[1] Oluwasanmi A, Al-Shakarchi W, Manzur A, Aldebasi MH, Elsini RS, Albusair MK, Haxton KJ, Curtis ADM, Hoskins C. 2017. Diels Alder-mediated release of gemcitabine from hybrid nanoparticles for enhanced pancreatic cancer therapy. J Control Release, vol. 266, 355-364. 

[2] Malekigorji M, Alfahad M, Kong Thoo Lin P, Jones S, Curtis A, Hoskins C. 2017. Thermally triggered theranostics for pancreatic cancer therapy. Nanoscale, vol. 9(34), 12735-12745.

Funding Details

Self funded applicants only.

Contact us

How to apply

Please email Dr Clare Hoskins if you would like to apply for this opportunity.