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Research Grant - Looking for chemical and pharmaceutical producers of in vivo imaging equipment and contrast agents.




An Italian research group has developed a smart plasmonic DNA nanostructure that can work as multi-parameter contrast agent for in vivo imaging. They are looking for research collaboration with chemical and pharmaceutical producers of in vivo imaging equipment and contrast agents, in order to provide support in the production and clinical testing of the developed product. A regional grant will support the co-development of the research results by paying the costs of one year research fellowship.


An Italian research group is proposing an innovative technology: a biocompatible tunable nanostructure that can be used to identify pathological indicators both as a diagnostic tool and as a follow up investigative technique. The key enabling technologies are DNA nanotechnology and nano-optics, and in particular plasmonics. The project exploits the potential of DNA nano-architectures to tailor the plasmonic response of a nanostructure to external stimuli. Such a stimulus can be either physical (pressure, temperature), chemical (pH, saline concentration) or biological (RNA, proteins, antibodies). This solution represents a novel non-invasive approach to in vivo imaging thanks to the demonstrated biocompatibility of its components, and to the possibility of tuning the optical response to match the tissue IR (infrared transparency-therapeutic window. Moreover, the device can be suitably designed to allow the in vivo simultaneous detection of multiple parameters by exploiting a differentiated plasmonic response. This platform can further be engineered to activate a therapeutic response or release a certain drug upon encountering a specific environment.

They are looking for chemical and pharmaceutical producers of in vivo imaging equipment and contrast agents in order to co-develop the technology.

The research group has longstanding experience in international projects.

Deadline of the call: 30/08/2017
Deadline for EoIs: 15/07/2017

Partner expertise sought:

- Specific area of activity of the partner: Type: chemical and pharmaceutical producers of in vivo imaging equipment and contrast agents

Role: support the research group in the production and clinical testing of the product.

Advantages & innovations:

Early detection of molecular changes in physiological processes can help in the diagnosis of diseases such as cancer and autoimmune conditions before their signs and symptoms are apparent. Present techniques of diagnosis, such as those based on imaging or identification of biomarkers, are not efficient enough to detect an aberration of biological processes associated with various medical conditions. Moreover each of the commonly employed imaging techniques features some drawbacks, such as penetration depth, sensitivity, resolution, expensiveness.

This novel diagnostic nanostructure: is made of simple and cheap components and can be prepared by an easy and cost-efficient synthesis; is biocompatible and non-invasive, and can thus substitute expensive and toxic contrast agents; can work as a multi-probe, allowing the detection of multiple independent chemical, physical, biological parameters, thus overcoming the limitation of other mono-modal imaging agents; can be a versatile multi-functional platform if suitably engineered to accommodate features such as targeting molecules, therapeutic payloads and/or stimuli-responsive moieties.

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Nanotechnology & Nanoscience \ Life Sciences \ Biosciences and Health \ Environment & Protecting Man \ Finance, Business & Professional Services \ Drug Discovery and Drug Development \ Diagnostics \ Medical Devices \ Physical Sciences
PHYSICAL AND EXACT SCIENCES / Micro- and Nanotechnology / BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES / Biology / Biotechnology / Biochemistry / Biophysics / BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES / Micro- and Nanotechnology related to Biological sciences / BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES / Industrial Biotechnology / Biological Nanomaterials / BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES / Industrial Biotechnology / Bio- Composites
Research and experimental development on biotechnology / Other research and experimental development on natural sciences and engineering / Other professional, scientific and technical activities n.e.c.
GENETIC ENGINEERING/MOLECULAR BIOLOGY / Recombinant DNA / Other recombinant DNA / GENETIC ENGINEERING/MOLECULAR BIOLOGY / Micro- and Nanotechnology related to Biological sciences / MEDICAL/HEALTH RELATED / Medical imaging / Other medical imaging / MEDICAL/HEALTH RELATED / Therapeutic / Drug delivery and other equipment


Contact Enterprise Europe Network Scotland by email at, quoting reference number rdit20170517005