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IMEC   is   a   world   leading   independent   research   and   technological   development   institution   in nanoelectronics and nanotechnology with 1900 persons. Its research focuses on the next-generation of  chips  and  systems, and  on  the  enabling  technologies for ambient intelligence. IMEC’s research bridges  the  gap  between  fundamental research  at  universities  and  technology  development  in industry. Imomec, an associated laboratory of IMEC located on the campus of the University of Hasselt, will be involved in this project and more specifically the “Organic and (Bio)-Polymer Chemistry” team. The OBPC team is divided in 5 organic chemistry sub-groups having each one a specific know-how and background  but  all  working  in  collaboration  towards  a  global  strategy  for the  development and characterisation   of   organic   materials -organic   and   (bio-)polymers -with   potential   use   in microelectronics, bioelectronics and nanotechnology.

Laurence Lutsen

Laurence Lutsen was graduated from the ENSCCF (France) in 1991 and received her PhD in Chemistry from  the  University  of  Montpellier  II  Unite  mixte  CNRS  /  Rhone-Poulenc  (France)  in  1994  with a specialisation in Organometallic Precursors of Materials. After a first post-doc position at the University of  Kent at  Canterbury (England)  in  1995  on  the  development  of  novel  block copolymers  with applications   in microlithography,   she   started   working   at   the   Limburg   Universitair   Centrum   in Diepenbeek  (Belgium)  in  1997  on synthesis  of  conjugated  polymers  for  application  in  light  emitting diodes. She is currently Strategic Research Manager at IMEC-Imomec, Associated Laboratory of IMEC in  Hasselt  (Belgium). Her  research  focuses  on  the design  and  synthesis  of  materials  to  be  used  in devises as  light  emitting  diodes,  transistors,  solar  cells,  chemo and bio-sensors. She  is  inventor  of  16 patents. She has also an extensive expertise in research project as scientific partner or project manager and was involved in more than 20 European projects since 1997.

Prof. Dr. Anitha Ethirajan

Dr. Anitha Ethirajan studied engineering in her bachelor studies with a specialisation in the field of polymers in India. Then, she moved to Germany and graduated M.Sc. in advanced materials in 2004 and started her research career at the Institute of Solid State Physics, Ulm University (Germany). She then pursued her doctoral studies (2004–2008) in the field of miniemulsion to develop hybrid nanomaterials under the guidance of Prof. Dr. Katharina Landfester, Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry and Organic Materials, Ulm University (Germany). Afterwards, she worked at the Max-Planck Institute for Polymer Research, Mainz (Germany) for the period 2008–2010 as a post-doc in the research group Physical Chemistry of Polymers. She then moved to Belgium and started working at the Institute for Materials Research (IMO-IMOMEC), Hasselt University as a post-doc. In 2013, she received her FWO (Research foundation Flanders, Belgium) research fellowship and had an independent research group focusing on nanomaterials, nano-bio and soft matter interfaces, drug delivery and bioimaging within IMO-IMOMEC at Hasselt University. Since 2017, she is an associate professor at Hasselt University and heads an interdisciplinary research group “ Nanobiophysics and Soft Matter Interfaces” at IMO-IMOMEC. She is also the coordinator of a master programme:  Master in Biomedical Sciences - ‘Bioelectronics and Nanotechnology’ at Hasselt University.

Dr. Ratchapol Jenjob

Dr. Ratchapol Jenjob received his PhD in Polymer Science and Technology from Mahidol University, Thailand. His expertise was the design and synthesis of core-shell nanoparticles from synthetic and bio-polymers for enzyme immobilisation. After PhD graduation in 2012, he moved to South Korea to work at the Utah-Inha DDS & Advanced Therapeutics Research Center as a postdoctoral fellow with a research topic of biocompatible contrast agent for MRI. In 2014-2016, he joined Prof. Su-Geun Yang’s group at Inha University Hospital, South Korea where he learnt about cell and animal experiments in the application of drug delivery. In 2016-2018, he became a team leader in the COOL laboratory at the VISTEC, Thailand under supervision of Prof. Daniel Crespy. He is currently a postdoc at the Institute for Materials Research (IMO-IMOMEC), Hasselt University (Belgium) under the supervision of Prof. Anitha Ethirajan. His research is focusing on the design and development of microbubble contrast agents for ultrasound.

Tasks and Tools

Radiation-Sensitive UCA Design: In collaboration with the Physical Chemistry of Macromolecules lab of TorVergata and DoseVue NV, IMEC’s OBPC team will design and develop radiation sensitive  UCA formulations. In particular, this group will focus on lipid shelled EMBs.

Shell  Derivatisation: The  lab  will  modify  the  shell  of  their  UCA  devices  to  enable  binding  of  tumour targeting ligands and imaging probes.

Physico-Chemical  Characterisation: In  collaboration  with  the  Physical  Chemistry  of  Macromolecules lab of Tor Vergata, the lab will actively work on the physico-chemical characterisation of UCAs to assess and quantify their radiation-sensitivity, and to reveal radiation-sensitising mechanisms.

UCA Production: The lab will investigate UCA production techniques (sonication/microfluidics).

Infrastructure and Technical Equipment:

  • Equipment for chemical solution synthesis, synthesis lab fully equipped.
  • Sonicators (different modules), microfluidic systems for microbubble production
  • All characterisation equipments relevant to our tasks in the project:
  • Quartz crystal microbalance (QCM-D)
  • Atomic force microscopy
  • Optical microscopy
  • Laser diffraction particle analyser
  • Scanning electron microscopy
  • X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy
  • FTIR (Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy)
  • UV VIS spectroscopy
  • Raman Spectroscopy
  • Solid state NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance): liquid, solid state

AMPHORA aims to develop a non-invasive in-situ dosimetry system for radiation therapy with the potential of on-line dose assessment by casting ultrasound contrast agents (UCAs) into dose sensing theranostic devices.