Increasing evidence suggests that iron excess within colon (acquired from the diet) is driving many intestinal diseases, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).The presence of excess iron within the colon is even more likely in IBD patients since they often present with iron deficiency anaemia. As such, this excess luminal iron is exacerbating the inflammation associated with the disease and is able to induce a microbial dysbiosis within the colon.This presents two challenges 1) can we develop iron-chelating formulations targeted at the colon to render the excess iron inert and 2) can the formulations act as pre/probiotics to alleviate the changes in the microbial communities.
This project aims to develop formulations, which contain known dietary iron chelators (which are biopolymer based) that are specifically targeted to exert their actions at the colon (i.e. in terms of agent release and retention of bioactivity).The iron chelators to be used have already been identified and require formulation optimisation (likely using microencapsulation and poly-electrolyte (PEC) based platforms).In addition, many of the biopolymers used as iron chelators may also act as prebiotics and as such, we intend to (co-)encapsulate selected strains of bacteria within the formulations.This will require further optimisation to ensure the bacteria are protected (throughout gastrointestinal transit) and arrive at the colon to deliver viable bacteria. Ultimately any desirable formulations will then be assessed for safety and tolerability in early phase studies.
This role is located at the Edgbaston, Birmingham site at the Institute of Cancer and Genomics Sciences. The candidate will have experience in one or more of the following areas: i) anaerobic microbiology, ii) formulation development (using PECs/microencapsulation), iii) targeted drug delivery and iv) biopolymer characterisation/modification.
The responsibilities will include the responsibilities outlined below:
- Develop research objectives and proposals for own or joint research, with assistance of a mentor if required
- Contribute to writing bids for research funding
- Analyse and interpret data
- Disseminate research findings for publication, research seminars etc
- Contribute to developing new models, techniques and methods
- Collect research data; this may be through a variety of research methods, such as scientific experimentation, literature reviews, and research interviews.
- A PhD or other higher degree relevant to the research area (formulation development, iron metabolism and or probiotics)
- High level analytical capability Ability to communicate complex information clearly.
- Experience in the field of formulation development and techniques associated with assessing efficacy.
- This may include knowledge of probiotic formulations and familiarity with mammalian cell cultures and artificial gut models
- Ability to assess resource requirements and use resources effectively
- Understanding of and ability to contribute to broader management/administration processes
Informal enquiries to:
Dr Chris Tselepis
0121 414 8665