ENDONANO has the general objective of designing and implementing new unbiased endotoxin detection methods, which could be applied on complex matrices and that are not affected by the complexity of the matrix, for reliably and quantitatively measuring endotoxin levels in a large variety of samples/materials (e.i., particulate suspensions for pharmaceutical use, biological fluids and tissues, wastewaters, marine and freshwaters with suspended organic matter, colloids and nanomaterials, emulsions, gels and semisolid media such as juices and baby food, etc). To this end, the ENDONANO fellows will be trained in the following specific scientific and technological goals:

1. interaction of endotoxin with biological entities/molecules (cells, receptors, binding peptides, etc.);

2. interaction of endotoxin with particulate matter, more specifically gold, silver and iron oxide nanoparticles (Au, Ag and Fe with different characteristics of chemical stability and optical response);

3. NP functionalisation for optimal endotoxin capture/scavenging in different media (which will be at the basis of the colorimetric and plasmonic detection of the LPS presence);

4. synthesis of detection probes based on fluorescence total internal reflection (molecular beacons) for optimal detection and quantitative signalling of endotoxin presence;

5. set up of a range of prototypes of quantitative endotoxin detection assays;

6. pre-commercial kit prototype design and validation in different settings.

The four PhD students will work on Individual Research Projects well integrated in the two research Workpackages and interconnected among them.

WP1: Cell-based sensing and biosensing of endotoxins (ESR1, ESR2, ESR3, ESR4)

WP2: Endotoxin measurement by nanoparticle-based and biosensing assays

Individual Research projects:

ESR1: Human monocytes and macrophages as detectors of bacterial endotoxins

ESR2: Designing LPS binding molecules

ESR3: Innovative fluorescence and optomagnetic assay for LPS detection

ESR4: Binding of endotoxin by metal NP in different media