Title of the project: Dynamic supramolecular bio-interfaces and hydrogels as biomimetic materials for cancer immunotherapies.
Supervisor/s and Host institution: Dr. Imma Ratera and Dr. Judith Guasch at the Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona (ICMAB-CSIC)
In this PhD project we propose to use a multidisciplinary approach that merges Chemistry, Materials Science, Cell Biology, and Biomedicine to revolutionize the first generation of 3D hydrogels developed in our research group to act as efficient lymph nodes (LNs) to enhance the proliferation of T cells and control their differentiation, in order to improve the current state of Adoptive Cell Therapy (ACT). Specifically, it is proposed to provide them with switchable structural, mechanical, and chemical properties through a supramolecular approach. Furthermore it is expected this treatment to arrive to hospitals in a shorter time than most pharmaceutical drugs, since the only thing entering the patient is their own T cells, and not the hydrogel itself.
"Bellonging to this MSCA family is a great honor and opportinuty, constantly providing me precious “tools” to continue after my graduate studies as a researcher in cancer biology field, driven by the desire to better our understanding of cancer to better preserve people’s health."
I obtained my Bachelor Degree with “The Best Student of the Degree Award”, in Biochemistry at Madeira University, Portugal where I was exposed to a wide range of scientific fields, spanning biochemistry, molecular biology, and chemistry. Beyond the extensive lectures and discussions, the degree also has a strong experimental component, leading to my experience in cell culturing, an array of biochemistry assays and quantitative proteomics, to name a few. More recently I concluded a Master Degree in the Department of Chemistry and Biotechnology at The University of Tokyo. During my studies in Japan I was given the freedom to propose and research my own topic of interest in the area of MOFs (Metal-Organic Frameworks), which culminated in control over MOF crystallization within confined spaces, such as vesicles. Now, funded by EU-Marie Curie Fellowship - DOCtoral training programme in Functional Advanced Materials (DOC-FAM) I am excited for having the opportunity, in ICMAB-CSIC, Spain, to develop dynamic supramolecular bio-interfaces as biomimetic materials for cancer immunotherapies, which demonstrates my capacity to adapt and combine my previously acquired knowledge with new areas of interest.
Truly, this PhD Program will have a great impact on my future by exposing me to a variety of new topics and technologies, and giving me precious tools to continue after my graduate studies as researcher in cancer biology field, driven by the desire to better our understanding of cancer to better preserve people’s health.