Dr.Sílvia Illa, former PhD researcher under the supervision of Dr. Jordi Faraudo (Theory and Simulation group at ICMAB) and Dr. Swapans K. Pati (Theoretical Science Unit, JNCASR, India), defended her PhD thesis entitled "Molecular Modelling of Quatsome nanovesicles" publicly on 28 February 2019 at the ICMAB-CSIC Auditorium. We have interviewed her to know a little bit more about her PhD and her life at the ICMAB!
I knew ICMAB because is where I did my master thesis. As I had a great experience there, so I choose it again.
What we investigate are materials that are nanometric and compatible with our body. The material I work with has spherical shape and is used as a carrier for drug delivery or as a biomarker for medical imaging. I have investigated this carrier via computer simulations, focusing on the properties but also on its potential applications for the mentioned functions.
The main applications of my research are in the biomedical field. An example could be the use of the Quatsome (the spheric material I work with) for localized drug delivery across the human body.
I really enjoy the atmosphere at ICMAB-CSIC. The fact that the campus is close to Barcelona is a great opportunity to enjoy the city more easily.
I have high expectations that the PhD formation will open many oportunities not only in the academic field but also in the industry.
I have not decided yet. I will consider either a post-doc position or a position in the industry after a break.
I have always been attracted towards science, since I was at school. That is why I choosed to study chemical engineering. The professors I have met have inspired me somehow. I like to read books and articles that disseminate science. Moreover, I met Jordi, my thesis director, during the master thesis. Up to now he has been an example to follow.
PhD Thesis Abstract: This thesis is devoted to the theoretical and computational study, at atomistic and molecular scales, of the properties of novel organic nanoparticles called Quatsomes (vesicles made by mixing CTAB cationic surfactant and cholesterol), as well as the interactions of Quatsomes with different types of fluorescent molecules. The methodology employed is computational molecular modelling. It includes modelling of the interactions between molecules at different scales and resolutions (DFT electronic structure calculations, atomistic molecular mechanics force fields and coarse-grain molecular mechanics force fields) and molecular dynamics simulations at atomistic and coarse-grain molecular resolutions. Most of the results have observable consequences that have been confirmed experimentally.
The members of the examining committee were: Elvira Guardia Manuel (UPC, Spain), Roger Estrada Tejedor (IQS, Spain) and Flor Rebeca Siperstein Blumovicz (University of Manchester, England).