Phospholipid-coated microbubbles (1-10 µm in size) are ultrasound contrast agents that can be used for ultrasound molecular imaging and enhanced drug delivery. The gas core of a microbubble compresses and expands in response to ultrasound, which provides contrast for ultrasound imaging but can also induce bioeffects in nearby cells, resulting in locally enhanced drug delivery. Clinically approved microbubbles such as Luminity (Definity in the USA) and SonoVue (Lumason in the USA) are currently used as blood pool marker for non-invasive diagnostics using ultrasound. However, the acoustic behavior in response to ultrasound and the polydisperse size distributions of these microbubbles make them unfavorable for ultrasound molecular imaging and drug delivery applications.
The aim of this internship project is to develop new microbubble formulations that can be used for ultrasound molecular imaging and drug delivery applications. The first step is to select which phospholipids will be used. After microbubble production, the size distribution and stability of the microbubbles will be tested. For stable microbubbles of clinically relevant sizes, the lipid distribution in the coating will be determined using confocal microscopy as published by Langeveld et al (Langmuir, 2020, https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.langmuir.9b03912). Finally, the acoustic response of the microbubbles will be assessed using an in vitro ultrasound set-up, with possibility to extend this to an in vivo chicken embryo model.
The MSc project will be conducted within the Therapeutic Ultrasound Contrast Agents group at the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Erasmus MC. This department includes 80 researchers performing highly innovative research in cardiovascular diagnosis and therapy. We focus on translational research in ultrasound imaging and image processing, ultrasound contrast agents for molecular imaging and drug delivery, intravascular techniques, and hemodynamics.
If you are an MSc student with an affinity for physical chemistry and interest in phospholipids and ultrasound, we are looking for you! Furthermore, good communication and basic writing skills are a pre-requisite.
Information and application
For more information about the Therapeutic Ultrasound Contrast Agents group visit:
To apply, please e-mail your CV, a course list with grades, and a motivation letter to firstname.lastname@example.org
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