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We are actively looking for a Research Assistant to join the group of Professor Oren A. Scherman in the Yusuf Hamied Department of Chemistry at the University of Cambridge. The position will be based in the Melville Laboratory of Polymer Synthesis working in an interdisciplinary team with our industrial collaborators. The successful candidate will join an existing team working on the clinical translation of supramolecular hydrogels. They will be responsible for the synthesis and characterisation of the hydrogels as a drug delivery technology and formulation of various drugs and drug-loaded nanoparticles within the hydrogels.

Typical treatment of brain tumours such as Glioblastoma (GB) involves surgical resection followed by radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Injectable, self-healing and mechanically tuneable hydrogels have been designed and developed within the Scherman research group to match the mechanical properties of human tissue, overcoming many of the pitfalls associated with the current state-of-the art treatments. Mediated by dynamic crosslinks, our supramolecular hydrogels are designed to deliver chemotherapeutic drugs in a spatiotemporally controlled manner for the treatment of glioblastoma and prevent tumour recurrence. These hydrogel materials represent a new treatment methodology for aggressive brain tumours and other hard to treat cancers.

Responsibilities and duties

This position will focus on the scale-up of the hydrogel synthesis, and preparation of a range of drug-loaded formulations alongside sterilisation protocols, and long-term stability studies. This role will also involve polymer characterisation, mechanical characterisation of hydrogels, drug-release studies and analysis; along with cytotoxicity studies of the hydrogel formulations. The successful candidate will take part actively in the research group and communicate their findings at weekly Scherman group meetings alongside providing quarterly updates for industrial partners. The role holder will be responsible for further development and validation of this drug-delivery system and technology transfer to industrial partners.

Skills, qualifications and experience

The applicant must hold a BSc, MSc in Chemistry/Materials Science or an equivalent/related discipline. The candidate should have some experience in design, synthesis and characterisation of (macro)molecules. Experience in polymer synthesis, mechanical characterisation, supramolecular chemistry, hydrogel formulation, and aseptic cell culture are desirable but not essential. Previous use of HPLC, rheometer, and GPC techniques could be advantageous. The candidate must have the ability to work effectively as part of a team, have strong interpersonal skills, be able to meet deadlines and work independently. The candidate should have experience in designing and standardising experiments with minimum supervision and a flexible scientific mindset.