Development of stimuli-sensotive particles for tumour-selective targeting of TIM-3/Galectin-9

Keywords: Drug-delivery, Galectin-9, surface modification nanoparticles, microparticles, bioanalysis

1st Hosting institution: Location: Surflay, Berlin, Germany; Duration: 18 months

2nd Hosting institution: Location: UMCG, Groningen, Netherlands; Duration: 18 months


Intended start date: June 2019

Job Description: PhD position: This PhD student position offers an exciting and innovative research project that aims to develop targeting of the TIM-3/Galectin-9 immune checkpoint for cancer immunotherapy and will result in a PhD thesis. Research by the UMCG has uncovered immunostimulatory effects of Gal-9 as well as direct anti-tumour cytotoxic activity of Gal-9. However, Gal-9 has pleiotropic functions and its therapeutic activity needs to be restricted to the tumour micro-environment. In this project, the development of tumour-selective nanoparticles with Gal9 and/or bispecific antibodies is pursued for cancer immunotherapy.

The PhD candidate will be working as part of an international consortium on their search for an immunotherapeutic approach to cancer treatment and will start their 3 year research project in Berlin / Germany at the nanobiotechnology company Surflay Nanotec GmbH. Surflay is a leading company in microparticle design and binding analysis using whispering galley mode. After 18 months, the candidate will continue at the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) / Netherlands, one of the leading academic centers of the Netherlands, for another 18 months. At the UMCG, functional immunomodulatory activity of the new therapeutic approach will be performed using patient-derived tumor and immune cells. With this project, the candidate will acquire experience in both industrial and academic research. This research project will end with a PhD thesis defense at the University of Groningen.

This project is part of a collaborative training network of 10 closely related projects in which PhD students will benefit from networking opportunities. This includes a multidisciplinary training programme with network-wide training events that will be provided to the candidates. Herewith, this project will yield the candidate a unique opportunity to obtain knowledge/expertise on important facets of academia and industry.

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