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H/F PhD fellowship on the development of swir emitting nanoprobes and their applications for biomedical imaging

This offer is available in the following languages:
Français - Anglais

Date Limite Candidature : mardi 1 décembre 2020

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General information

Reference : UMR5309-XAVLEG-001
Workplace : LA TRONCHE
Date of publication : Tuesday, November 10, 2020
Scientific Responsible name : Xavier Le Guevel
Type of Contract : PhD Student contract / Thesis offer
Contract Period : 36 months
Start date of the thesis : 1 February 2021
Proportion of work : Full time
Remuneration : 2 135,00 € gross monthly

Description of the thesis topic

Non-invasive optical imaging is reckoned as a powerful technique with plethora of applications in biomedical research. Achieving deep photon penetration while maintaining high resolution is one of the main objectives and challenges in bioimaging used for the investigation of diverse processes in living organisms. The shortwave infrared (SWIR) region, called also NIR II, between 850 and 1700 nm has very recently shown to be a promising optical spectral window to reach high spatial and temporal resolution in small animals. However, there is still a lack of suitable reporters and contrast agents with optimal optical properties in this spectral window that could be used safely in vivo.

In the SIREN project funded by ANR/DFG (France/Germany), we aim to rationally design new SWIR contrast agents spectroscopically studied in different environment in solution and in artificial models mimicking tissues. The selection of the best performing and safe candidates will be evaluated in terms of spatial resolution and signal-to-noise ratio at various depths first in tissue-mimicking phantoms and then in mice using SWIR photoluminescence imaging (PLI), an advanced non-invasive optical imaging modality. This will allow the real time non-invasive visualization in living animals with high resolution at different scales.
The biological investigation will focus on vascular network imaging in animal models to extract highly detailed information on the blood and lymphatic networks structure, vessels permeability and on fluid motions. The use of the SWIR window together with the probes assessed in this project and the tools for data analysis will pave the road: i) to expand the applications of NIR imaging from its current stage of preclinical anatomical and molecular imaging in experimental animal models, and ii) to increase its clinical translatability and applicability for intraoperative theranostic purpose.

This project will run at the Institute for Advanced Biosciences (CNRS/INSERM/University of Grenoble) and in collaboration with a spectroscopist team in Berlin (Dr. Ute Resch-Genger).

During this PhD, the candidate will first design and characterize new atomically precise noble metal (gold, silver) nanoclusters (NCs) with controlled surface organization and explore new strategies to boost the brightness of NCs and shift their absorption and PL to longer wavelengths. The high potential of these nanoprobes for SWIR bioimaging was demonstrated recently by our team (Nanoscale 2019, 11, 12092; ACS Nano 2020, 14, 4973). Then he will evaluate the potential of the SWIR contrast agents for SWIR PLI in terms of spectral window and spatial and temporal resolution to achieve very sensitive measurements in real time in artificial and mouse models. Finally, the best SWIR emitters will be investigated for bioimaging applications such as blood and lymphatic vascularization in mice.

Work Context

The PhD will take place at the Institute for Advanced Biosciences based in Grenoble in a multidisciplinary team "cancer targets and experimental therapies" led by Dr. Jean-luc Coll.
Candidates must hold a Master of Science degree in chemistry, physics or biotechnology with some knowledge in materials chemistry, optics and bio-imaging. He/she must have a strong interest in working in an interdisciplinary environment at the interface of chemistry and biology with biologists and chemists. A good level of English is required. As the PhD is part of an international call with a team in Germany, stays of 3 months are planned in Berlin as part of the 3-year project. This project includes the handling of small animals which are mastered by the team.

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