3D printing of nanocomposite drug delivery platforms


Hydrogel-based three-dimensional (3D) printing has garnered significant interest in various biomedical fields like tissue engineering, regenerative medicine, and personalized medicine. Creating tailored scaffolds with precise properties for individual patients holds therapeutic advantages, drawing increased attention toward personalized solutions. These tailored scaffolds can provide tools for early disease detection, can enable customized treatment and precise dosing with suitable release profiles.

Among 3D printing methods, extrusion-based techniques stand as the most established for crafting complex-shaped hydrogel scaffolds. This method necessitates the biomaterial ink meet specific rheological prerequisites during printing while retaining structural stability post-printing. While various polymers can serve as biomaterial inks, natural polymers, particularly derived from plant sources, are gaining traction in biomedical applications due to their renewable nature, biocompatibility, and reduced immunogenicity compared to other alternatives.

Various types of nanomaterials have been explored for creating nanocomposite hydrogels, including carbon-based nanoparticles, silica nanoparticles, polymeric nanoparticles, and metallic nanoparticles. Among these, mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNs) stand out due to their customizable features, significant pore volume, and substantial specific surface area. Due to its distinct helical and highly porous network structure MSNs operate as a drug carrier, enabling the storage, delivery, and controlled release of diverse drug cargo.

The aim of this studentship will be to develop novel naturally derived 3D printed hydrogel materials embedded drug loaded MSN particles. We hypothesize that the nanocomposite 3D printed hydrogel will provide a personalized therapeutic dose of the drug, whilst enhancing the mechanical and physical properties of printed material.

This is a highly interdisciplinary project that sits at the interface between materials sciences and microbiology. The student will have the opportunity to attend University-run courses in relevant subject areas, as well as to interact with students and postdoctoral researchers from a wide range of scientific backgrounds. Extensive training will be provided throughout the project as part of internationally renowned research teams.  The studentship will provide the candidate with a wide range of skills in basic science and translation that will strategically position them for a career in several different sectors.


Open to students worldwide

Funding information

Self-funded project




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