SNAL is a multidisciplinary programme specially designed to provide scientific and transferable skill training and career development for early stage researchers and experienced researchers in membrane research. Working in a multidisciplinary network will give the researchers a broad perspective on their research field as well as the basic ability of pursuing a research project from basic sciences to industrial applications. The broad aim is to train a new cohort of researchers with systemic thinking equipped with generic skills in combining experimental studies and computer simulations to prepare them for fruitful careers in academia and industry. One challenge for the project is the design and synthesis of novel biomaterials able to modify membrane properties. This requires deep understanding of the interactions of lipid membranes with nano- objects including functional biomimetic polymers, polymeric micelles, carbon nanotubes and polymer therapeutic complexes/conjugates to enable the intelligent design of novel materials with improved bilayer modifying properties. To achieve this goal we have assembled a highly interdisciplinary team of leading groups all having synergies in their established research interests in the field of lipid bilayer – nano-objects interactions. The project combines computer simulations, chemical synthesis, clinical and industrial expertise, physical and biological experiments. The industry involvement in the project is very high with full participation of Unilever and Biopharma, the companies from different sectors. Complementarity of partner skills provides a logical basis for a collective training programme. The full cycle of the design process, from theoretical models to synthesis and experimental and clinical validation, is of particular importance for training of ESRs and their future career development.
This project brings together leading European research groups in the field of nanoparticle – phospholipid bilayer interactions from universities, research institutes and industry. The consortium is put together with four essential priorities:
- Partners are already competitive at world class in the particular expertise that they bring to the ITN, which must contribute to and technically support the methodologies to be used.
- Partners are already demonstrated the necessary skills and commitment to training and research in a multidisciplinary environment.
- Partners demonstrate the ability to provide an excellent training support for the ESRs and ERs of the network, with local courses on their special expertise and basic transferable skills.
- Partners have experience in working with industry, including appropriate exposure of their trainees, and adequate experience of the management of industrial collaborative projects.