Meet the team: Dr Miguel Santos

Meet the team
For Dr Miguel Santos, science has always been a path he knew he wanted to follow.

Originally from Faro, a small town in the south of Portugal, Miguel completed a Master of Science degree in plasma physics at the University of Lisbon, Portugal.

In 2014, Miguel joined the Applied Materials Group at HRI, led by Dr Steven Wise, where as a PhD candidate he developed bio-functional coatings for cardiovascular stents. He received his PhD from Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney in 2018.

Now a postdoctoral researcher with the Group, Miguel works at the interface between plasma physics, nanotechnology and bioengineering. “Being able to apply your knowledge and clinically translate it in a way that could make a difference to people’s lives is incredibly satisfying,” Miguel says.

And for people interested in a career in scientific research?

“Be curious. Be determined. Don’t be afraid to do things differently and push the boundaries to make great discoveries.”

The latest research

The Applied Materials Group has made a groundbreaking discovery: a new class of nanoparticle. Made from plasma – the same medium found in lightning, our galaxy and the sun – they are so tiny that up to a billion can fit on the head of a pin.

Nanoparticles can be used as carriers for drugs, genetic material and other biological agents, which can then be targeted at specific cells for treatment of patients. But progress in this highly promising field has stalled due to limitations of the current commercially available products.

The breakthrough, recently published in the journal ACS Applied Nano Materials, significantly improves on current nanotechnologies, which are too costly, complicated and time-consuming to be easily translated into use in the clinic.

As lead scientist in this project, Miguel says, “These nanoparticles could potentially one day change the landscape for drug or gene material delivery. Using our versatile nanoparticle platform, we can easily engineer off-the-shelf nanocarriers tailor-made for the needs of each patient and clinical condition. The potential applications are huge and exciting, ranging from improved ways to treat heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s, through to more efficient gene therapies.”

The paper, Plasma Synthesis of Carbon-Based Nanocarriers for Linker-Free Immobilization of Bioactive Cargo, can be viewed here: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acsanm.7b00086  
Previous
Next

Related news

A sharing of minds

Breakthrough findings on the biological functions and translational importance of plasminogen activation and extracellular proteolysis – key molecules and chemical pathways in a vast number of biological processes – were presented at the recent Plasminogen Activation and Extracellular Proteolysis Gordon Research Seminar.

Read more

Smart new nanoparticle makes good drugs brilliant

Scientists at Heart Research Institute have engineered multifunctional nanoparticles that can effectively work as ‘nanocarriers’, hauling a wide range of molecules including drugs or genetic material, to exactly where it needs to go in the body. These super-charged nanoparticles with truck-like power and GPS-style precision are poised to change the way medication is delivered to sick Australians.

Read more

Silk mends broken hearts

The world’s most luxurious fabric could soon be used to weave blood vessels that offer life to heart bypass patients, a breakthrough HRI study has found. Scientists at HRI in Sydney built and tested silk blood vessels and discovered they’re more effective and better tolerated than synthetic materials currently used in Australian hospitals. 

Read more