ENDONANO (Quantitative detection of bacterial endotoxin by novel nanotechnological approaches) is a European Industrial Doctorates (EID). The ENDONANO network aims at delivering industry-oriented PhD training of early stage researcher (ESRs) in the area of safety regulations for drugs and medical devices, i.e., at developing new concepts and methods for the unbiased and quantitative evaluation of bacterial endotoxin (LPS) in complex matrices. ENDONANO will train 4 PhD students in an overarching training programme that will include training-by-research, courses of technical, scientific, and transferrable skills, active participation to public scientific events, and intense intersectoral networking (secondments). The ENDONANO consortium encompasses three academic institutions, two SMEs and a biotech company. All have proven experience in higher education and training, and are endowed with state-of-the-art scientific and technical expertise and infrastructures.
The research activities implemented in ENDONANO have the following objectives:
- interaction of LPS with biological entities/molecules (cells, receptors, binding peptides, etc.);
- interaction of LPS with particulate matter, more specifically gold, silver and iron oxide nanoparticles (Au, Ag and Fe with different characteristics of chemical stability and optical response);
- NP functionalisation for optimal LPS capture/scavenging in different media (biological fluids, emulsions, gels, etc.) (which will be at the basis of the colorimetric and plasmonic detection of the LPS presence);
- synthesis of detection probes based on fluorescence total internal reflection (molecular beacons) for optimal detection and quantitative signalling of LPS presence;
- set up of a range of prototypes of quantitative LPS detection assays;
- pre-commercial kit prototype design and validation in different settings.
The 4 selected ESRs will be employed 18 months in a company, and 18 months in academia and will be enrolled in the PhD programme in Medical Biology of the beneficiary’s organization PLUS (PARIS LODRON UNIVERSITY OF SALZBURG). They will participate in the network’s training activities and work placements at the laboratories of the participating academic and industrial partners. In addition, the training programme of the recruited ESRs will be implemented with regular meetings and workshops within the ENDONANO network.
The 4 ESRs’ projects are the following:
ESR1: Human monocytes and macrophages as detectors of bacterial endotoxins.
ESR1 will be employed by CNR (National Research Council – Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology-IBBC, Napoli, Italy; Dr. Paola Italiani) for the first 18 months and then by DIAG (Diagnosticum-DIAG, Hungary; Dr. József Prechl) for the final 18 months.
ESR2: Designing LPS binding molecules
ESR2 will be employed by PLUS (Paris-Lodron University of Salzburg, Austria; Dr. Jutta Horejs-Höck) for the first 18 months and then by Miltenyi (Milteyi, Germany; Dr. Christiane Siewert) for the final 18 months.
ESR3: Innovative fluorescence and optomagnetic assay for LPS detection
ESR3 will be employed by CNR (National Research Council – The Institute of Food Sciences, Avellino, ITALY; Dr. Sabato D’Auria) for the first 18 months and then by BSD (Blusense-BSD, Denmark; Dr. Marco Donolato) for the final 18 months.
ESR4: Binding of endotoxin by metal NP in different media
ESR4 will be employed by ICN2 (Institut Català de Nanociènca i Nanotecnologia, Spain; Dr. Victor Puntes) for the first 18 months and then by Miltenyi (Milteyi, Germany; Dr. Dr. Jonathan Fauerbach) for the final 18 months.