PhD research student
Nanotechnology and Bioengineering Research Division (Nano-Bio)
Institute of Technology, Sligo
Jamie Grant is a PhD research student based within the Nanotechnology and Bioengineering Research Division (Nano-Bio), IT Sligo.
His topic of interest relates to the
“Development of Nano-fibrous Chitosan and Graphene Composites for Bio-Medical Applications”.
The scope of the project covers many topics such as materials science, polymer science, analytical chemistry, bio-engineering and biomedical science.
Jamie began his academic studies in IT Sligo where he completed a BSc. Hons in Forensic Investigation & Analysis (2011-2015).
He spent the summer of his third year completing a work placement in the British Heart Foundation Research Laboratory, in the University of Edinburgh, which gave him an important insight into medical science and laboratory-based research. His final year project involved the “Forensic Evaluation of Soil Samples” which leaned heavily on analytical chemical techniques such as SEM, ED-XRF, FTIR etc.
After gaining a small taste of research during his undergraduate program,
Jamie began his post-graduate studies under Dr Ailish Breen (Science), Prof. Suresh C. Pillai (Science), Dr Marion Mc Afee (Engineering)
and Dr Sarah Hehir (Science) (2016-present).
The scope of the project involves the electrospinning of chitosan, PVP and graphene oxide to produce a drug delivery vehicle for chemotherapy. Chitosan and PVP are well-known biocompatible and biodegradable materials which have frequently been used in electrospun nano-fibre production. Electrospinning is a fundamental technique which involves the exposure of polymeric solutions to a high voltage power supply to produce micro to nano-scale fibres.
Graphene Oxide is a unique 2-D material which has many superior properties such as high strength and high surface-to-volume ratio. The inclusion of this material would hypothetically increase drug loading and improve the tensile strength of the polymeric fibres. However, the effect graphene oxide may have on biological entities is not well known. Because of this, it is important to study the composite material to gain knowledge of its ability as a drug delivery vehicle as well as its biocompatibility and biodegradability properties.
Topics of the PhD project include the following:
Optimisation of solution and working parameters to produce Chitosan/ PVP electrospun nano-fibres.
Optimisation of graphene oxide concentration in the system to produce non-toxic nano-fibres.
Addition of anti-cancer drug 5-Fu for the development of a drug delivery system.
Cell culture studies involving electrospun constructs exposed to human carcinomic cell lines (A549 & CaCo2)
Characterization of materials using SEM, FTIR, Raman, XPS, XRD and TEM.
Design of Experiments for statistical analysis.
Figure 1. shows a schematic of the electrospinning procedure and cell viability studies using electrospun constructs.
Jamie’s research has seen him travel to conferences such as the 2019 MRS Fall Meeting & Exhibit, Boston, Massachusetts, to present research based on “Optimisation of 5-Fluorouracil releasing graphene oxide/chitosan/PVP electrospun composites”.
Aside from his own topics of research, Jamie is also involved in other aspects of scientific study within the college. He has worked on projects with PEM to assist engineering companies to chemically analyse polymeric materials.
Jamie also recently worked on the face visor production team in IT Sligo, during the fight against COVID-19, and has helped to construct a research paper based on the teams’ work.
Jamie has also been lucky to gain experience as a laboratory demonstrator in the areas of chemistry, biology, biochemistry, and mathematics, teaching undergraduate students. He feels that the encouragement and assistance from his supervisors, along with the general research-driven mindset of IT Sligo, has benefited him greatly. There are endless opportunities for learning and developing as a researcher in IT Sligo.