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A Drug Delivery Challenge: Cracking the Code of Mass Transport in Disordered Systems


Supervisors: Dr. Gabriele Sosso (Chemistry), Prof. James Sprittles (Maths)


Embark on a fascinating journey into the world of drug delivery and mass transport in complex biological systems. This project will explore how molecules navigate through disordered networks, from liposomes to human skin. Led by experts in computer simulations and continuum models, you will unravel the connections between molecular-level interactions and macroscopic drug delivery processes. You will develop skills in both atomistic simulations and fluid dynamics, while addressing challenges such as optimising drug transport and release via state-of-the-art nano-carriers. This project will leverage collaborations with experimental partners and offers a unique opportunity to make a real impact on healthcare applications.


At the bleeding edge of computational discovery

Our project stands at the forefront of scientific innovation, featuring multi-scale simulations that bridge the gap between the microscopic world of molecular dynamics and the macroscopic realm of mass transport. Through fully atomistic molecular dynamics simulations, you'll explore the intricate interactions of drug molecules at the interface with biological systems. These simulations generate invaluable insights that directly inform continuum models of mass transport, paving the way for precision drug delivery strategies with unprecedented accuracy and efficiency.

The perfect training program to tackle multi-scale simulations

As a HetSys PhD student, you'll have access to the perfect training program for mastering both molecular dynamics simulations and fluid dynamics. Our interdisciplinary approach ensures that you develop a comprehensive skill set that's in high demand across various scientific domains. You'll delve into the intricacies of atomistic simulations, gaining an in-depth understanding of molecular behavior, and seamlessly transition to fluid dynamics, where you'll explore the macroscopic aspects of mass transport. This dual expertise positions you as a versatile scientist ready to excel in complex research challenges. Prominent examples would be multi scale simulations of biological interfaces, which are ubiquitous in the pharmaceutical sciences.

A collaborative project with real-world impact

Collaboration is at the heart of our project, offering you the opportunity to work closely with esteemed experimental partners. Join forces with Justin Tian at the University of Belfast, who specializes in the study of drug encapsulation, transport, and release in liposome nano-carriers. Your simulations will directly complement his experimental work, driving advancements in drug delivery technology. Specifically, this project seeks to optimise the carrier composition so as to maximise the release rate of the relevant drug. Additionally, collaborate with Matthew Gibson at the University of Manchester, a leading researcher in the percolation of cryoprotectants through animal and human tissues. Together, you'll unravel the mysteries of mass transport in diverse biological systems, making a significant impact in both academia and industry. In fact, identifying novel, permeating cryoprotectants (i.e. chemicals that get into our cells when freezing biological material for medical applications) is key to deliver the next generation of medical treatments, particularly with respect to regenerative therapies.

Are you interesting in applying for this project? Head over to our Study with Us page for information on the application process, funding, and the HetSys training programme

At the University of Warwick, we strongly value equity, diversity and inclusion, and HetSys will provide a healthy working environment, dedicated to outstanding scientific guidance, mentorship and personal development.

HetSys is proud to be a part of the Engineering Department which holds an Athena SWAN Silver award, a national initiative to promote gender equality for all staff and students.