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The PhD project aims to design novel silver- and copper-chitosan nanocomposites for biomedical applications, such as wound-dressings and implants, and identify the nanocomposites physicochemical properties yielding the highest antimicrobial efficiency with no adverse side effects to humans.

Research field: Chemistry and Biotechnology
Supervisors: Mariliis Sihtmäe
Dr. Kaja Kasemets
Availability: This position is available.
Offered by: National Institute Of Chemical Physics And Biophysics
Application deadline:Applications are accepted between September 01, 2021 00:00 and September 30, 2021 23:59 (Europe/Zurich)


This PhD project aims to create and analyze silver- and copper-chitosan nanocomposites with synergistic properties of antimicrobial and immune-stimulating action. Thus, the main objective of the project is to synthesize nanocomposites and identify their physicochemical properties yielding the highest antimicrobial and immune-modulating efficiency with no adverse side effects to humans.

Main tasks within the PhD project:

  • Synthesis of silver- and copper-chitosan nanocomposites (NC)
  • Physicochemical characterization of NC by UV-Vis, XRD, EDX, TEM, DLS, FTIR, and solubility by AAS
  • Evaluation of NC antimicrobial potency and mode of action to the clinically relevant bacteria and fungi (including antibiotic-resistant ones)
  • Evaluation of NC cytotoxicity and biocompatibility to the mammalian cells in vitro
  • Evaluation of immune-modulating effects of NCs in vitro (release of cytokines, phagocytosis activity in macrophages)
  • Evaluation of the NC bio-interactions by the laser scanning confocal microscopy
  • Conducting data analysis
  • Manuscript writing


Dr. Kaja Kasemets (kaja.kasemets@kbfi.ee) and Mariliis Sihtmäe (mariliis.sihtmae@kbfi.ee), Laboratory of Environmental Toxicology, National Institute of Chemical Physics and Biophysics

Applicants should fulfil the following requirements:

  • Master's degree in biology, chemistry, pharmacology, or a related discipline
  • Experience in nanoparticles synthesis and characterization
  • Experience in microbiology, and in vitro cell culture methods are a bonus
  • Strong team-working skills, capable of independent work and taking initiative
  • Good command of English (spoken and written)
  • Data analysis/statistics skills

The applicant should submit a letter of motivation in English (one A4 page) and be prepared for a Skype interview