Vacancies

Vacancies

Ph.D. Students & Postdoctoral Candidates
Unfortunately, we do not have currently any open positions for or  Ph.D. students postdoctoral researchers. However, our group is happy to support and help in writing any candidate with a clear vision of the proposed project that could be funded by e.g., Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship, Academy of Finland Postdoctoral Fellowship, UEF Fellowships, or any other grants from national or international foundations.

Topics for M.Sc. Thesis or Diploma Work in Pharmacy for ERASMUS students

1. Molecular modelling and synthesis of neuroprotective or anti-cancer agents

  • Methods: Computer-aided drug design, Docking and Synthesis (organic chemistry) and Structural Characterization (NMR, MS, elemental analysis) of Designed Molecules
  • Main supervisor: Adj. Prof. Kristiina Huttunen, Ph.D. and Dr. Maija Lahtela-Kakkonen , Ph.D.
  • Contact: kristiina.huttunen (at) uef.fi
  • Other information: In this project, the student will design novel compounds against neurodegenerative diseases or cancer by molecular modelling and then synthesize the molecules. Prepared compounds are then purified by chromatographic or crystallographic methods and finally characterized by NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) and mass spectroscopy as well as by elemental analysis. The compounds are studied further against neurodegenerative diseases or cancer in our in vitro and in vivo laboratories. The prepared compounds depends on the current state of the research and selected target protein. In this project, the student will learn both computer-aided drug design and well as to perform essential methods in organic chemistry. PROMM course is mandatory for modelling.

 

2. Design and synthesis of brain-targeted transporter-utilizing prodrugs of neuroprotective agents used against neurodegenerative diseases

  • Methods: Design (database), Synthesis (organic chemistry) and Structural Characterization (NMR, MS, elemental analysis) of Drug Molecules
  • Main supervisor: Adj. Prof. Kristiina Huttunen, Ph.D. and Dr. Santosh Adla, Ph.D.
  • Contact: kristiina.huttunen (at) uef.fi
  • Other information: In this study, novel designed prodrugs of neuroprotective agents are synthesized and purified by chromatographic or crystallographic methods and finally characterized by NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) and mass spectroscopy as well as by elemental analysis. In this project, the student will learn to design multistep reaction routes by using several databases and published literature as well as to perform essential methods in organic chemistry. Prepared prodrugs are then studied further against neurodegenerative diseases in our in vitro and in vivo laboratories. The project requires basic knowledge of organic/synthetic chemistry. However, the subprojects are scalable to both to Master Thesis level as well as to ERASMUS students. The prepared compounds depend on the current state of the research.

 

3. Bioconversion, brain-cell selective pharmacodynamic studies of transporter-utilizing prodrugs of neuroprotective agents used against neurodegenerative diseases

  • Methods: Chemical and enzymatic stability, solubility, unspecific protein binding, HPLC (UV/MS), targeted/global proteomics
  • Supervisors: Adj. Prof. Kristiina Huttunen, Ph.D., Janne Tampio, M.Sc., and Ahmed Montaser, M.Sc.
  • Contact: kristiina.huttunen (at) uef.fi
  • Other information: In this project, physicochemical and pharmaceutical properties, such as aqueous solubility, chemical stability, unspecific plasma/tissue protein binding, enzymatic bioconversion in various biological matrices (plasma, microsomes, liver/brain homogenate) and/or with pure enzymes of novel prodrugs of selected neuroprotective agents synthesized in our laboratories are evaluated. For each prodrug a simple HPLC (High Performance Liquid Chromatography) or LC-MS (mass spectrometry) method are developed, by which the samples are analyzed. Selected biomarkers for each neuroprotective parent drugs and their prodrugs are evaluated by MS with targeted or untargeted (global) proteomic/lipidomic methods. In this study, the student will learn basic pharmaceutical techniques and learn to analyze properties of compounds from various sample matrices. The project requires basic knowledge of analytical chemistry. However, the subprojects are scalable to both to Master Thesis level as well as to ERASMUS students. The prepared compounds depend on the current state of the research.

 

4. Cancer cell-selective transporter-mediated uptake studies and anti-proliferative efficacy of transporter inhibitors and their prodrugs

  • Methods: Cell culturing, cytotoxicity, HPLC (UV/MS)
  • Supervisors: Adj. Prof. Kristiina Huttunen, Ph.D., Janne Tampio, M.Sc., and Johanna Huttunen, M.Sc.
  • Contact: kristiina.huttunen (at) uef.fi
  • Other information: In this project, cellular uptake of transporter inhibitors and their effects on chemo-resistance mediated by efflux transporters are evaluated in human breast cancer cell lines. Transporter inhibitors and their cancer-cell targeted prodrugs are studied together with selected anti-cancer agent to evaluate the increase of combination therapy in anti-proliferative efficacy. In this study, the student will learn to handle the cell line, to perform the uptake and cell viability studies as well as analyze the results by a feasible HPLC (High Performance Liquid Chromatography) methods, which will be developed for each prodrug. The project requires basic knowledge of analytical chemistry and cell culturing. However, the subprojects are scalable to both to Master Thesis level as well as to ERASMUS students. The prepared compounds depend on the current state of the research.

 

5. In vitro affinity and cellular uptake of LAT1-utilizing prodrugs/compounds

  • Methods: cell culturing, working with radiolabeled materials, HPLC (UV/MS)
  • Supervisors: Adj. Prof. Kristiina Huttunen and Ph.D., Janne Tampio, M.Sc., Juulia Järvinen, M.Sc., or M.Sc., Johanna Huttunen, M.Sc.
  • Contact: kristiina.huttunen (at) uef.fi
  • Other information: In these studies, in-house prepared (pro)drugs are evaluated as substrates for L-type amino acid transporter 1 (LAT1). This includes cis- and trans-inhibition studies of radiolabeled amino acids as well as concentration-dependent cellular uptake of studied compounds in human cancer cells or brain cells (e.g., microglia or astrocytes) over-expressing LAT1 or LAT1-tranfected cell line. The student will learn to handle the cell line as well as to perform the uptake studies and analyze the results by a feasible UV- or MS- HPLC (High Performance Liquid Chromatography) method, which will be developed for each prodrug. Several sub-projects are available and the studied compounds depend on the current state of the research. The project requires basic knowledge of analytical chemistry and cell culturing. However, the subprojects are scalable to both to Master Thesis level as well as to ERASMUS students.

 

6. Pharmacokinetic and comparative efficacy and safety studies of neuroprotective agents and their brain-targeted prodrugs in neuroinflammation-induced mice

  • Methods: in vivo, LC-MS, targeted/global proteomics
  • Supervisors: Adj. Prof. Kristiina Huttunen, Ph.D. and Ahmed Montaser, M.Sc.
  • Contact: kristiina.huttunen (at) uef.fi
  • Other information: In this project, pharmacokinetic properties and brain-targeting efficacy of novel in-house synthesized prodrugs of neuroprotective agents are evaluated from the samples collected after in vivo studies from mice. Furthermore, selected biomarkers are followed from neuroinflammated mice induced by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) by targeted or untargeted (global) proteomic approach by mass spectrometry (MS). The student will learn essential sample preparation techniques (extraction, protein precipitation) of plasma and tissue samples (brain, liver, kidney, pancreas, etc.) and to analyze compounds and biomarkers from biological matrices by feasible LC-MS methods. If wanted, student can also participate in in vivo studies. The project requires basic knowledge of analytical chemistry and possibly animal experiments. However, the subprojects are scalable to both to Master Thesis level as well as to ERASMUS students. The studied compounds depend on the current state of the research.

 

7. Analytical method development in targeted /untargeted proteomic data analysis

  • Methods: Mass spectrometry, targeted/untargeted proteomics, (pathway) data analysis
  • Supervisors: Adj. Prof. Kristiina Huttunen, Ph.D., and Ahmed Montaser, M.Sc.
  • Contact: kristiina.huttunen (at) uef.fi
  • Other information: In this project, transporter expression levels are explored by targeted proteomic approach from different cell or tissue samples to understand endogenous and exogenous compounds’ disposition in healthy and disease stages. In addition, global proteomic approach (untargeted) and pathway analysis will be used to understand detailed mechanisms behind different diseases. In this study, the student will learn essential proteomic sample preparation techniques and how to analyze a massive amounts of data. The project requires basic knowledge of analytical chemistry and proteomic approach. However, the subprojects are scalable to both to Master Thesis level as well as to ERASMUS students. The exact topic depend on the current state of the research. The exact topic depend on the current state of the research.