ESR11: Multifunctional colloidal formulations for ocular delivery; University of Padova (Italy)

At the University of Padova (Italy), we perform research and educate students covering a broad spectrum of the academic fields. The University of Padova is one of the oldest Universities worldwide and sits on the top ranking of national academic institutions  with particular strength in Biomedical Sciences. The Department of Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Sciences (DSF) boasts advanced facilities for the research in different pharmaceutical areas including drug design and synthesis, biotechnology, nanopharmacy and advanced drug delivery. DSF participates to the Doctoral Course of Molecular Sciences of the University of Padova.

The Doctoral Course of Molecular Sciences of  the University of Padova invites applications for the OCUTHER - European Training Network within Marie Sklodowska Curie Programme:

DOCTORAL STUDENT POSITION (Early Stage Researcher 1: Multifunctional colloidal formulations for ocular delivery).

To date there is an unmet need of effective drug delivery systems for the retina targeting that can replace repeated and invasive intravitreal injections currently used for the treatment of several invalidating ocular diseases.  In this regard, UNIPD intends to design and develop novel vesicular systems, namely liposomes and micelles, for intravitreal or subconjunctival administration to enhance the retinal oligonucleotides or synthetic drug delivery. These nanocarriers will be decorated with functional synthetic moieties to modulate their biopharmaceutical behavior, the loading efficiency, the diffusivity within the eye microenvironment, the cell association and uptake.

These systems and their components will be characterized from physicochemical and biopharmaceutical point of view using  a variety of analytical tools (NMR, IR, mass spectrometry, DLS, viscosimetry). Drug candidates will be loaded and the biopharmaceutical profile of the colloidal carriers will be investigated to assess drug release and intracellular drug delivery in vitro. The PhD thesis project aims at understanding the molecular requirements for efficient nanocarrier  diffusivity and cell interfacing in the intraocular environment.

Required background: MSc degree in an appropriate field of science (e.g. medicinal chemistry, chemistry, material sciences, polymer chemistry, advanced drug delivery).

Prof. Paolo Caliceti’s and Stefano Salmaso’s multi-disciplinary research group at the University of Padova Italy, Department of Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Sciences, offer a training program in the field of advanced drug delivery sciences. The group’s target is to build knowledge on novel functional biomaterials and colloidal carriers for ocular drug delivery. Research activity in the group involves the set-up of novel bioconjugation procedures, design and synthesis of functional components to be combined to colloidal carriers (namely liposomes and micelles) to tailor their behavior within  to the microenvironment of exposure, physico-chemical profiling of the bioconjugates, biopharmaceutical features of drug delivery systems in the cells. The group is well recognized in the field of advanced and responsive drug delivery systems both for small drugs and therapeutic macromolecules (oligonucleotides and proteins). The OCUTHER network will provide training across a wide range of disciplines including biology, pharmacology, chemistry, drug delivery, nanopharmacy and ophthalmology, ensuring interdisciplinary and inter-sectoral learning experience. You will be enrolled in the Molecular Sciences doctoral program of theUniversity of Padova and will defend your PhD at the end of the project. The PhD research at the University of Padova will be conducted in English. You will perform your PhD research in a multidisciplinary Initial Training Network (ITN) project OCUTHER.

What we have to offer

  • Employment: 1 fte;
  • Duration of the contract: 36 months;
  • Salary: euro 38.598,27 (annual gross perceiver amount) with social security coverage and family allowance (if applicable), in accordance with the EC Marie Sklodowska-Curie financial guidelines for this scheme.

What we expect from the applicant

At the time of recruitment the selected candidate must have recently received his/her Master of Science degree and has not yet been awarded a doctoral degree. He must have excellent scientific background in the pharmaceutical, biophysical, chemical fields, communication skills, team player abilities, strong motivation, result oriented attitude, self-organization. Recruitment is open to all nationalities, but because of mobility rules defined by the EU, at the time of recruitment, candidates must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Italy for more than 12 months in the three years immediately prior to the reference date (compulsory national service and/or short stays, such as holidays, are not taken into account).

Would you like to know more?

Are you interested?

Your application should include (and be limited to) the following attachments:

  • Letter of motivation.
  • Curriculum Vitae (including publications and communications if any).
  • Brief statement on how you will contribute to this project
  • Your Master of Science degree and/or official transcripts (in English).

To apply for this position, send an email to

The call is available in the following websites:

The deadline for applications has been extended to March 10, 2017.