Woolcock Institute of Medical Research
PhD Opportunities
Developing a 3D nasal model for targeted drug delivery testing

Developing a 3D nasal model for targeted drug delivery testing

If you are interested in new approaches to targeted drug delivery, specifically via the nasal route, with funding for travel and consumables, this opportunity is not to be sneezed at!

The nose is a fascinating organ that has a unique connection to the brain and lungs. The blood-brain barrier and the blood-cerebrospinal fluid barrier are effective brain barriers against pathogens and many toxin compounds, but this also means that drugs used to treat central nervous systems (CNS) diseases such as dementia, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, are unable to reach the brain effectively when treated via oral and intravenous administration.  

A unique opportunity to circumvent these barriers is presented in the anatomical link existing between the olfactory nerves in the nasal cavity within the olfactory epithelium and the CNS.

However, there are several barriers to delivering drugs to the brain through the intranasal route, including the highly resistant and narrow vestibule region of the nasal cavity, the biological barriers of the semi-permeable nasal epithelium, enzymatic degradation and the rapid mucociliary clearance.

This proposed PhD project aims to address this problem by developing a physiologically relevant integrated nasal model using state of the art 3D bioprinting that could accurately mimic the physiological conditions and inhalation processes in the nasal cavity.

This novel 3D model will be used to explore and further understanding the nasal physiology and how this will guide nasal drug delivery formulations and devices optimisation with correlative performance with in vivo outcomes in a predictive manner.

Scholarship details

The scholarship is available to candidates eligible to undertake a four-year MRes Year 2 + PhD program

The program includes:

  • admission to a university PhD program
  • supervision by the participating university, and a major industry partner
  • a four-year scholarship package totalling $35,000 per annum (2024 rate)
  • an additional top-up scholarship ($7,000 per annum) is also available from the Woolcock’s Centre for Chronic Diseases of Ageing
  • an industry engagement component with the industry partner.

Successful students are subject to the policies, procedures, and guidelines of the participating university.

Students will receive a PhD or MRes Year 2 + PhD bundle (1 + 3 years) on completion.

How to apply

Applicants are required to submit an expression of interest (EOI) to: Macquarie supervisor Hui Xin Ong huixin.ong@mq.edu.au

Scholarship process

  • The EOI is assessed by the supervisory team and shortlisted applicants are interviewed.
  • The supervisory team nominates a preferred applicant.
  • The nominated applicant will be instructed to apply.
  • The application is then assessed by the host university against PhD admission criteria.
  • The university will issue a letter of offer for the program if all conditions have been satisfied.

If you are interested in applying for this PhD opportunity and would like more information, please contact Dr Hui Xin Ong at huixin.ong@mq.edu.au

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