Biophysical characterisation of self-assembling nanoparticles

Lead Research Organisation: University of Oxford
Department Name: Biochemistry


The research project focuses on engineering lipid nanodiscs (Lipodisqs) to deliver therapeutic peptides and oligonucleotides to cellular and intracellular targets, and is an EPSRC Priority Are in the Healthcare portfolio. Lipid nanodiscs have shown preliminary potential as drug carrying molecules in both in vitro and in vivo assays, as they are able to increase solubility of more lipophilic (and therefore hydrophobic) drug molecules. Their ability to act as a soluble lipid membrane mimic is useful for not only the drug carrying properties for therapeutics, but also could be used to study the biophysical and structural characteristics of membrane proteins in their native conformation and environment.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/N509310/1 01/10/2015 30/03/2021
1797428 Studentship EP/N509310/1 01/10/2016 30/09/2020 Henry Sawczyc
Description Discovered that some nanoparticles made of polymers and lipids are not just isolated in a solution, but instead randomly (and quickly!) mix lipids through collisions with other nanoparticles. this is currently being developed to work on transferring lipids into protein systems to see what effects the lipids have on the proteins in these systems.
Exploitation Route Lipid titration into protein systems is a good way to see objectively if certain lipids affect protein behaviour and function. This is the first method of its kind that can do this without the addition of membrane disrupting methods, such as detergents. This means that eventually this can be used to study proteins in a native manner, whilst controlling lipid species well enough for these systems to be significant.
Sectors Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology