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The University of Southampton
Institute for Life Sciences

Artur Kirjakulov PhD in Infection, Inflammation & Immunity, 1st year, 2019

IfLS PhD student

Artur Kirjakulov's Photo

Toxicity of nanoparticles on lung epithelial cells and pulmonary immune defences

I believe that interdisciplinary research it the most important source of inventions, as it allows to solve problems whose solutions are far beyond the scope of a single discipline.

I graduated from Vytautas Magnus University (Lithuania) with BSc degree in biochemistry. During my studies, I had a chance to work with the Botanical Garden, the State Forensic Medicine Service, and the National Centre of Physical and Technological Sciences. These places were focused on different areas of research but by the end of my studies I could find a link between them and realised how multidisciplinary research can be.

Then I moved to UK to study for a MSc degree in Chemistry for Drug Discovery at the University of Bath. It was a great chance to learn how both chemistry and biology work together to result in life-changing discoveries and inventions. During my summer project with Prof Toby Jenkins, I had an opportunity to carry out a research project focused on development of hyaluronic acid nanocomposite hydrogels for on-demand drug delivery in bacterial wound infections. It was invaluable experience to work on interface of different disciplines, as the project combined physical/organic chemistry, microbiology and imaging techniques.

I have now started a project jointly co-funded by IfLS and Faculty of Medicine with my supervisors Dr Jens Madsen and Dr Sumeet Mahajan and co-supervisors Prof Howard Clark and Dr Maurits de Planque. I hope to identify how nanoparticle properties influence their toxicity and determine the role of the innate immunity proteins surfactant protein A and D (SP-A and SP-D) on the translocation and clearance of engineered nanoparticles by applying both in vitro and in vivo models.

Supervisor's quote: The innate immune system is working 24/7 to combat most potential infections. The concept that we might be able to make smaller versions of this to treat patients where there is clinical need is fascinating to me and is the passion that drives my research.

Location: Southampton General Hospital, South Block, Level F, LF-100.

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