PhD with ZP and the University of Birmingham

A PhD is now available with the University of Birmingham sponsored and co-supervised by ZP.


Project title: Screen-printed Nanobody Switchable Sensors for Cell Therapy process Monitoring


Professor Paula Mendes from the University of Birmingham talks about her lifETIME CDT 2022 #PhD project working with Zimmer and Peacock.


Cell and gene therapies are poised to transform medicine by providing personalized and effective treatments for patients with chronic or life-threatening diseases. However, the complexity and high costs linked with the manufacturing of cell and gene therapy products have been severely constraining market availability and patient accessibility to these life changing therapies. There is an urgent need for innovative technologies that can address current challenges facing cell and gene therapy manufacturing. Major advances are needed in process integrated analytical tools to accurately and reliably measuring in real-time key attributes of cells throughout the manufacturing process. This interdisciplinary project aims to develop disposable, low-cost electrochemical sensor technology for real-time monitoring of cell secreted protein biomarkers. We are combining for the first time the capability to control binding on-demand using switchable receptors with screen-printing technology. Conceptually different from established biosensors where the surface immobilised affinity binding receptors act as passive probes, we introduce sensor devices, which enable active manipulation of single-domain antibodies, i.e. nanobodies. Consequently, analytes can be capture in space and time for detection, allowing the sensor devices to support real-time data capture for different periods of time. It will provide an exceptional opportunity to implement fully automated, robust cell therapy culture processes and bring down production costs, ultimately delivering cost-effective and impactful therapeutics to patients in need.