Assessing anticancer activity of novel nanomedicines

The project will assess the anticancer activity of novel nanosized drug delivery systems using two cancer cell lines as model.

Department: Pharmacy, Chemistry, Food BioSciences and Pharmacy

Supervised by: Dr. Francesca Greco

The Placement Project

Aim of the placement. Recent studies have shown that glutamate can activate tyrosinase. The aim of this project is to assess the anticancer activity of these novel nanomedicines in presence of different concentration of glutamate. Experiments will be carried out in two cell lines: one over-expressing tyrosinase and the other where tyrosinase is virtually absent. Timeplan Week 1-2 Student training in tissue culture These two weeks will be dedicated to student training: health and safety (how to work safely in a lab, disposal of biological waste etc.) and standard tissue culture techniques (freezing, defrosting, splitting and seeding cells). Week 3-6 Assessment of anticancer activity in presence of glutamate In this period, the student will carry out cytotoxicity assays to determine the activity of these novel compounds in presence of glutamate.


The placement will be primarily (80%) lab-based. The student will carry out his/her experimental work in a tissue culture lab. Thus, by the end of the placement the student will have acquired important tissue culture techniques (growing cancer cells, splitting cells and cytotoxicity assays). The rest of the placement (20%) will involve plotting and analysing data (using Excel), literature search and preparation of a power point presentation on the project (for presentation during group meetings). At the end of the placement the student will be encouraged to collect his/her data and to present them in the form of a written report.

Skills, knowledge and experience required

A scientific background (in particular, knowledge of chemistry and biology) is an essential prerequisite for this project. Knowledge of current cancer treatments and relevant drug delivery systems is desirable and will constitute an advantage. Please note that the selected candidate will have to undergo anti Hepatitis B vaccination (since the work involves handling of human cells).

Skills which will be developed during the placement

This project represents a unique training opportunity for the student to acquire a variety of skills: 1) Lab-related. The student will acquire tissue culture techniques. Indeed, by the end of the placement he/she will have familiarised with: maintenance of 2 cancer cell lines (including, freezing, defrosting, passaging cells) and cytotoxicity tests (to assess anticancer activity). The student will also receive training on health and safety issues and standard laboratory practice (including how to compile a lab-book). 2) Other skills. During this project the student will learn how to collect and analyse data using excel; how to retrieve relevant literature from different databases (in particular pubmed). In addition, he/she will have the opportunity to present to a scientific audience, thus acquiring transferable presentation skills. Finally, as member of a larger team, the student will improve his/her team working and time management skills. Please note that this project is part of a larger research effort on developing enzyme-labile macromolecular prodrugs lead by F Greco and H Osborn. Thus, it is very likely that the results obtained during this project will be included in a research publication and presented at conferences (with the student gaining co-authorship).

Place of Work


Hours of Work

Approximate Start and End Dates (not fixed)

Unknown - Unknown

How to Apply

Please apply by sending a cover letter and CV to and

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