- Course: Polymers, Colorants and Fine Chemicals MSc
- PhD title: The development of anti-inflammatory libraries by Reversible Addition Chain Transfer (RAFT) polymerisation
- Nationality: Chinese
Looking back, why did you choose to study your Masters course and why did you choose the University of Leeds?
I did straight chemistry for my undergraduate degree and found I was very interested in polymer chemistry, so I decided to study further in the area of polymer chemistry for my Masters degree. The University of Leeds is a well-known university and I was attracted by the MSc Polymers, Colorants and Fine Chemicals programme.
What was the best aspect of the course/the University and why? Any highlights?
On the course I had many opportunities to study my favourite polymers. The colorants modules were related to cosmetics, which I’m also interested in. The University’s location is very close to the city centre, which is very convenient.
What other activities outside of your studies were you involved in?
I am a volunteer in the Business Confucius Institute.
What would you say to students thinking about studying the same course at Leeds?
The courses involved in the programme are very useful preparation for real jobs. The topics are also very interesting. The study environment is very nice and friendly.
Why did you choose to undertake a PhD at the University of Leeds?
I did my Masters project here and enjoyed working in the lab. The School of Chemistry has many kinds of instruments that I can use to analyse products.
Tell us about your research
The development of anti-inflammatory libraries by Reversible Addition Chain Transfer (RAFT) polymerisation
AFT polymerisation will be used to create a wide range of nanoparticles in an efficient manner. Such nanoparticles will possess functionality that enables:
i. Glycan conjugation
ii. Drug conjugation
iii. Polymer crosslinking
The polymers will be amphiphilic to enable the formation of nanoparticles in aqueous environments, such as the body. Polymer induced self-assembly (PISA) will primarily be utilised to produce a large range of nanoparticles in an efficient manner, although conventional RAFT synthesis may be employed in the first instance.
The synthesis of prodrug containing self-assemblies using a PISA approach which is building on research in stimuli-responsive materials and drug delivery. This will open new avenues for PISA as a means for the synthesis of drug delivery vehicles at high solids content, which has implications in translating polymer-based therapeutics into commercialisation. Finally, the rigorous assessment of the anti-inflammatory behaviour of these particles could uncover highly potent anti-inflammatory agents with loaded anti-inflammatory prodrugs.
What experiences at Leeds do you think have particularly helped with your career/will help with your future career?
I registered with the Careers Centre in the University of Leeds and I put down my areas of interest. Every week they send related job opportunities to me. There are many careers fairs taking place each term which are also very helpful.
What has been your favourite part of your PhD?
My favourite part is working in the lab and analysing my products.
What advice would you give to anyone thinking about undertaking a research degree at Leeds?
I would say choose the research project that you are most interested in and the University of Leeds is a nice choice.