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Area Engineering

Nanotechnological Approaches to Targeting Electrical Conduction in the Heart

keywords CARDIAC CELLS, IMAGING, NANOMEDICINE, NANOPARTICLES, NANOTECHNOLOGY, X-RAYS

Reference persons DANILO DEMARCHI

External reference persons Carly Filgueira (csfilgueira@houstonmethodist.org)

Research Groups MiNES (Micro&Nano Electronic Systems)

Thesis type EXPERIMENTAL

Description There are special electrical cells in the heart that lead to every heartbeat. Identifying these cells is important because they can also lead to bad heart rhythms. Also, these areas are targeted in new versions of cardiac pacemakers. This project will lead to a new way to identify these important regions of the heart (the cardiac conduction system) to aid clinicians in heart rhythm therapies. The overall goal of this project is to develop a targeted nanoparticle that would be visible under fluoroscopy to allow for a clinician to intraoperatively target these regions. The particles would need to be high z materials (consisting of an element of high atomic number,such as bismuth, gold, ytterbium, or tantalum, etc.). The particles would also need to be conjugated to an antibody that can bind to a known cell surface marker expressed within the cardiac conduction system (such as contactin 2, Cntn2). Understanding the signal contrast of the particles under X-ray as a function of their concentration (measured at various Kilovoltage peak settings) as well as how the signal intensity changes once the particles are conjugated with targeting antibodies will be fundamental for the success of this project.

Required skills This project requires experimental work to be performed at the Houston Methodist Research Institute, Houston (TX), US. A period of at least 9 months is required. For Masterís students, analysis performed remotely is possible. This project would involve preparing and conjugating nanoparticles with antibodies and testing them in vitro and in vivo; therefore, the student would need to be comfortable working with cell culture and animal models after training as well as around instrumentation that emit X-rays with proper personal protective equipment. The student will assist with performing analyses and data collection. Student will be trained on wet chemistry techniques such as pipetting and use of a chemical fume hood. The student will work in a team that includes Dr. Filgueira as PI, a practicing cardiologist, Filgueira lab staff, and imaging and vet technicians. Good knowledge of basic physics and chemistry is required; familiarity with MATLAB programming, modeling, CAD, are a plus. Excellent English level is required (oral and written) and positive attitude to work in a diverse and heterogeneous environment.


Deadline 21/11/2023      PROPONI LA TUA CANDIDATURA




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