The objective of RAMan spectroscopy for tracking Exosome based delivery of Nutraceuticals (RAMEN), is to design nanometer sized intestine targeted iron supplement delivery vehicles, based on milk derived exosomes to efficiently address anaemia prevalent among 614 million women and 200 million children worldwide. Specifically, enterocytes, which are cells responsible for iron absorption (receptor mediated endocytosis) and conversion to usable forms in the body, will be targeted, and the exosomes will be functionalised with cell penetrating peptides to circumvent endocytosis, facilitating direct delivery of the iron supplement to the cytosol. The direct delivery we hypothesise will help improve iron supplementation at low doses with minimum side effects and in cases with reduced expression of uptake receptors. This uptake by enterocytes will be tracked using Raman spectroscopy, a label-free live cell technique, observing the molecular signatures of exosomes and the changes in the signature of iron supplements, after delivery and conversion to usable forms in cells and animal free in vitro intestine model. This project will be implemented by Dr Sounderya Nagarajan (ER), who has expertise in functional nanoparticles for in vitro targeted bioimaging, under the supervision of Prof. Hugh J. Byrne (FOCAS Research Institute), who is an expert in Raman spectroscopy for cytological studies and drug delivery analyses in collaboration with Prof. David Brayden (University College Dublin) who is an expert in industry standard in vitro intestinal models. The fellowship will expand the skills of the ER in designing cell specific nanomedical/supplement delivery and label free monitoring techniques and her understanding of IP protection and project management, towards establishing herself as an independent principal investigator.
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