Our group is experimenting with various ways to produce liposomes and encapsulate drug molecules. In particular we are developing devices that can form liposomes in-situ, thus overcoming the common difficulties of the storage and stability associated with liposomal delivery agents. These in-situ devices will be designed to be used at a clinical level, where streams of lipid and drug mix in a particular fashion to form liposomes and efficiently encapsulate the drug.
The project involves understanding the forces that govern the self-assembly of the lipid molecules and aims to achieve a reproducible control on the size of the liposomes.
One of the projects involves isolating DNA molecules from specialised strains of bacteria E. coli. This way we are able to get a polymeric liquid of various concentrations of a mono-disperse molecular weight. We have characterised the so-called theta temperature of DNA in Tris-EDTA buffer solution, and also mapped its solvent quality in good solvents to the theoretical solvent quality parameter used in theories of polymer physics. With this it is hoped that the dynamics of DNA can be predicted from first principles using analytical and molecular simulation methods.
In a related project we are also looking to understand the dynamics of polymeric liquids in semi-dilute solution, using a specially developed Brownian Dynamics code (MMTK) that can handle long range hydrodynamic interactions.
An useful method of simulating polymer dynamics in confined geometries is the Fluctuating Lattice Boltzmann method (FLBM). We have recently suggested a variation to the conventional FLBM technique that can achieve twice the computational speed.
This project involves understanding of the dynamics of the initial stage before the whipping instability commences. We use a combination of scaling arguments and experimental measurements using high speed videography to elucidate the mechanisms.