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The University of Southampton
OLIGOMED - Oligonucleotides for medical applications

ESR Project 10, University of Udine (IT)

Confocal microscopy approaches for evaluation of oligonucleotides delivery

ESR10 Joshua James McHale
Joshua James McHale

Joshua James McHale attained his BSc in Biological and Medical Sciences (Hons) in 2018 at the University of Liverpool, United Kingdom. These studies took a keen focus on pharmacology and physiology modules and involved joining the labs of Dr Simpson and Dr Wilm of the Department Cellular and Molecular Physiology, within the Institute of Translational Medicine.

In these labs, he undertook an honours project investigating Store-Operated Calcium Entry, and several of the key proteins involved in its regulation.

He then re-joined the labs to continue this work as part of his Master of Research (MRes) in Biomedical Sciences and Translational Medicine. This work progressed to include tissue analysis, live-cell imaging, and cytosolic Ca2+ investigations.


Host institution University of Udine, Department of Medicine, Udine, Italy
Supervisor Prof. Carlo Vascotto
Co-Supervisors   Prof. Ling Peng, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Marseille, France (Academic)
Dr. Mohamed Anis Alouini, SynVec, Bordeaux, France (Industrial)


Project description

The aim of this ESR PhD project will be the development and optimization of protocols for in vitro delivery of ONs. By using biochemical analyses and microscopy based approaches Joshua will evaluate the intake and localization of ONs, the half-life of ONs, and changes in cell viability and morphology associated to the treatment. During secondments in partner organizations he will extend his knowledge on the effect of ONs derivatization and modification and evaluate the delivery in different cancer cell models.



This project is carried out in strong collaboration with the following groups:

Host laboratory

Research activities in the group of Dr. Vascotto are focused on the study of DNA repair mechanisms, mitochondrial RNA degradation processes, and the role of mitochondria in tumour progression and resistance. The laboratory has full access to laboratories for handling mammalian cell cultures and primary human cells under normal and hypoxic conditions; flow cytometry facility; microscopy facility equipped with state of the art microscopes for confocal and nanoscope analyses, and in vivo fluorescence microscopy; instruments for monitoring cell parameters (e.g. viability, apoptosis, mitochondrial respiration, and more).

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