Project supervisor: Prof. Karel Procházka
Experimental studies of physicochemical principles of the formation and of properties of polymeric nanoparticles based on self-assembly of amphiphilic copolymers and on co-assembly of polyelectrolytes with the oppositely charged surfactants that can be used as carriers of biologically important compounds in various medical applications (diagnosis, bio-sensing, drug delivery)
This topic assumes a broad and diversified research suitable for students (of all stages) and also for postdocs. The long-term solution of the project provides sub-topics for several investigators which comprise (i) the elaboration of reproducible recipes for preparation of stable systems with targeted properties, (ii) the characterization of developed systems, (iii) studies of their properties and thermodynamic stability and (iv) the first stage of studies of their functional, (i.e., biomedical) properties and of possibilities of their utilization in medicine.
Block copolymers composed of hydrophobic (biocompatible and/or biodegradable blocks, such as, e.g., polycaprolacton) and of polyelectrolyte blocks (e.g., poly(mathacrylic acid)) or neutral or water-soluble blocks (such as or polyoxyethylene, polyoxazoline, etc.) will be used as polymeric components for the assembly on nanoparticles. Various copolymer samples are available thanks to our cooperation with colleagues specialized in polymer synthesis. The biologically active compounds will comprise either real drugs (e.g., porphyrines) or some model compounds (fluorophores). The systems of carrier nanoparticles will be studied by a combination of methods currently used in polymer research: scattering methods (static and dynamic light scattering, small angle neutron and X-ray scattering - in cooperation with collaborators from abroad), spectroscopic methods (UV –vis absorption, steady-state and time-resolved fluorescence, NMR, etc.), microscopy imaging (AFM, Cryo-TEM), chromatography and calorimetry.