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NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU): Polymeric Nanostructures for Delivering Drugs and Imaging Agents

Primary Institution: Virginia Tech
State: VA
Job Duration: May 20, 2014-August 1, 2014
Class Requirement: Undergraduate
Citizenship Requirement: U.S. Citizen
Minimum GPA: 3.0
Position Type: Research
Discipline(s): Biology/Life Science
Chemistry
Other Engineering
Interdisciplinary Physics: Biological Physics; Quantum Information; Etc.
Description: Molecular biology has yielded a wealth of therapeutic molecules with potential to treat diseases and correct genetic defects, provided delivery and release issues can be resolved. Moreover, complexes of polymers with imaging agents have the potential for unraveling structure-image relationships that may enable sufficient contrast to non-invasively monitor biodistribution of co-encapsulated drugs. It has already been demonstrated that polymers can be coupled to therapeutic molecules to improve medical outcomes. For example,
reacting poly(ethylene oxide) oligomers with some therapeutic proteins improves their colloidal stabilities in physiological media, reduces immunogenicity and protects the protein, and lengthens plasma circulation times by controlling the sizes of such conjugates. Realizing major advances, however, will rely on precision synthesis, assembly, and detailed characterization of multicomponent nanostructures to afford the needed level of structure-property information. Thus, this REU will focus on SYNTHESIS of well-defined polymers for delivering drugs and imaging agents, the ENGINEERING that characterizes assembly, structure and properties of polymer-drug-imaging agents, and the PHYSICAL SCIENCE that defines relationships among structure, release rates and mechanisms, and image sensitivity and contrast. This REU will provide opportunities for 10 undergraduates to conduct 11 weeks of research on macromolecular drug and imaging agent complexes designed to function in physiological conditions. The undergraduates will work in a state-of-the-art research environment where they will be mentored by leading faculty and graduate student researchers from multiple disciplines.
Stipend: $7,000 in two installments; students pay for housing
Benefits: Housing
Application Deadline: Rolling deadline until filled
Job Website: http://www.mii.vt.edu/SURP/index.html

Research/Internship Opportunity Contact Information

Primary Contact: Cyndy Graham
103 Surge Building, MC 0201
Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, VA 24061
Email: cyndy@vt.edu
Phone: 540-231-6717
Secondary Contact: Teresa Dickerson
103 Surge Building, MC 0201
Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, VA 24061
Email: teresa1@vt.edu
Phone: 540-231-3704