PhD Project opportunity:
The exposure of aqueous solutions to non-thermal plasmas results in the generation of relatively long-lived secondary reactive species which are biologically active and have demonstrated anti-microbial and cytotoxic activity. These solutions are of interest for decontamination of surfaces, wounds and food products while providing the advantages of off-site production, storability and ease of application over applications of direct plasma discharge. Reactive oxygen and nitrogen species, which are involved in numerous cellular processes, are generated in the plasma discharge and believed to be key mediators of the observed biological effects in liquid. With antimicrobial resistances on the rise, new decontamination strategies are urgently needed and plasma-activated liquids may be less prone to antimicrobial resistances as they do not target a single cellular pathway. Similarly, cytotoxic activity on chemotherapy-resistant cancer cell lines has been reported. Solutions exposed to plasma discharges may provide a novel resource which can be tailored to a range of applications in medicine and healthcare. Detailed understanding of the various chemical species generated in a plasma-activated liquid (PAL) and the resulting biological effects on both prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms are essential in order to harness this new technology. This project aims to provide a thorough and extensive elucidation of the effects of PAL on biological systems. To this end the reactive chemical species in PAL will be characterized and quantified, the effects on biomolecules will be assessed in an isolated manner prior to investigating the complex cellular responses of pro- and eukaryotic cells. The research outcomes will define both the efficacy and safety of the potential uses of this technology for anti-microbial and other medical applications.
This is a funded project: Stipend: €18500 per annum for 4 years, Fees: €4500 per annum for 4 years
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