Small bioactive molecules often suffer from poor solubility, limited bioavailability and insufficient target selectivity, leading to undesired off target activities, which can obscure/complicate biological data and cause undesired side-effects during drug therapies. Traditional prodrugs can enhance solubility and lower off target toxicity; however, controlled “on demand” activation and targeting of the prodrugs remains a challenge.  

My lectures will focus on the use of nano- and microspheres for biomedical applications. Polymeric particles can be utilised in various cellular applications including sensing and drug delivery. We have developed “smart nanoparticles” that respond to an external small molecule stimulus that allows controlled “on demand” cargo release. In addition, microspheres, embedding copper or palladium nanoparticles, have been used to activate prodrugs and imaging agents in biological systems, as well as to catalyse the in situ synthesis of bioactive molecules from benign precursors.