Supervisor: Prof Matthew Gibson (Chemistry/WMS)
By value, the largest segment of the pharmaceutical market is protein biologics, which includes antibody as well as gene therapies and vaccines. All of these face the major challenge of retaining function during transport necessitating a cold chain, which in many cases includes freezing. Most biologics cannot survive freeze-stress without cryoprotectants, and often have to be stored at e.g. -80 C (as seen for COVID vaccine) which creates health inequalities.
The aim of this PhD is to prepare and characterize therapeutic protein/polymer conjugates, where the polymers have the unique function to modulate ice growth, which has been shown to mitigate stress during protein cold storage (e.g. Materials Horizons, 2019, 6, 36). This will involve the installation of unnatural amino acids into precise locations in the protein drugs, and the full characterization (sequencing) followed by site-specific polymer conjugation and full characterization of the conjugates (using chromatography and MS).
The project is highly multidisciplinary leveraging biochemistry, protein expression, polymer chemistry and crystallisation to help understand the function of next-generation protein pharmaceutics.
Contact: For further details, please contact Prof Gibson M.I.Gibson@warwick.ac.uk
The University of Warwick provides an inclusive working and learning environment, recognising and respecting every individual’s differences. We welcome applications from individuals who identify with any of the protected characteristics defined by the Equality Act 2010.
Start date: Monday, 26 September 2022