Help Andrea do research in Oxford!

A project by: Andrea B. Brunner


WE RAISED £1,673

from 30 donors

This project received pledges on Sat 01 Aug 2015
2nd Year PhD funding. Nanomedicine and Drug delivery systems

Help Andrea do research in drug delivery!

My name is Andrea Bonilla Brunner; I am a PhD student reading Condensed Matter Physics at the University of Oxford.


We are designing a drug delivery system that can be actuated “on demand”. In the lab, we are making tiny wires (nanowires) that are so small you could line 10,000 up across a human hair and have never been used in medicine applications. We put these wires as well as nanoparticles inside a very porous polymer (Figure 1) along with medicine. Then, by a magnetic field, we make the wires and the particles shake and the polymer to shrink, squeezing out their medicine exactly when we want. After synthesizing these systems, our focus of study is understanding the basic physical properties of these systems, with the aim of controlling them and developing techniques to improve design strategies.


Figure 1. SEM images of two porous polymers synthesized by different methods. a) and b) PCL matrix dried under vacuum. c) and d) PCl matrix synthesized using casting agents for bigger pores size.


I am aiming to raise £6500 of funding necessary for paying my second year’s tuition fees and for topping up my living expenses.

Currently, I hold two scholarships: one is provided to me by Teddy Hall College in the University and the second one is a Mexican scholarship that covers 65% of my tuition fees (unfortunately, the exchange rate was not in my favour in comparison with previous years: my scholarship is calculated in pesos but the recent strengthening of the pound means that I receive much less effective funding). I was aware of my economic situation when I made the decision to do the PhD, but I had a huge opportunity I couldn't let slip through my fingers! This is why I am asking you to help me to raise this money and to continue with my studies.

Sponsoring this project will help us develop a new delivery system with magnetostrictive nanowires that have never been used for medical purposes as well as understanding the material in order to have a more rational design of drug delivery systems.



First things first! The first priority is to pay my tuition and college fees: £21,163 of which I have £13,500 already secured by my Mexican scholarship and £3,500 by Teddy Hall College. This means I owe £4,163 for fees.

I hope to use the rest of the money as a top up of my living expenses since my scholarship only covers £770 per month. After paying rent in Oxford and house bills, this currently leaves me with less than £60 a week to pay for food, clothes or anything else.

In the awesome case where we raise more than the set target, I will start a fund for the third year’s tuition fees (fortunately I already have a couple of scholarships in mind I can apply for to raise the rest of the money!).


In general, Drug Delivery Systems have been designed to transport, target and release a treatment in a controlled and specific manner, lowering side effects and improving pharmacodynamics (what the drug does to the body) and pharmacokinetics (absorption, action mechanism, metabolism and excretion) by more accurately supplying the treatment to the required site, etc. They are also used to treat a huge range of diseases that require regular dosing such as controlled insulin delivery for patients with diabetes, epilepsy, hormones in thyroid disorders and even psychiatric disorders such as anxiety, etc. with the objective of formulating a less invasive and easier form (less frequent dosing, etc.) of treatment.

In the same way, the polymeric matrix we are designing and developing can be used in 3D cell cultures as a scaffold for reducing animal testing in pharmaceutical research. A primary purpose of growing 3D cell cultures in vitro is to test pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic effects of drugs in preclinical trials as well as testing chronic toxicity of a material. The three-dimensional scaffold allows the cellular cultures to provide a model that more accurately resembles human tissue in vitro, maybe reducing animal testing for in vivo studies.


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