Ottewill International Travel Scholarship 2017

By Qian Sun  (University of Cambridge) who attended the 7th International Colloids Conference in Barcelona, Spain (18-21 June 2017)

The “7th International Colloids Conference” was organized by the Elsevier. Since my research concerns making colloidosomes, this conference provided a great opportunity for me to meet and communicate with many other researches sharing relevant research areas. In the conference, I presented my PhD research on “Aqueous Core Colloidosomes with a Metal Shell” by poster. Our work focuses on the formation of aqueous core colloidosomes with a silver or gold shell, which are impermeable. Metal coated colloidosomes are prepared by taking aqueous core polymer shell capsules and adding AgNO3 with L-ascorbic acid for silver shells or HAuCl4 with L-ascorbic acid for gold shells. The resulting capsules are triggered using ultrasound. In addition, we used the colloidosomes to encapsulate cargos such as doxorubicin, an anticancer drug, for cell viability tests.

The polymer shells are fully covered with either silver or gold particles, sealing the core. The diameter of the water core is between 0.7 µm and 2 µm. The silver or gold shells have a low cytotoxicity, but after triggering, the doxorubicin and broken metal fragments kill cells. This shows the possibility of using these capsules in targeted cancer treatment.

Barcelona 2017

Figure (a) SEM image of the silver coated colloidosomes; (b) SEM image of the gold coated colloidosomes; (c) CLSM images of silver coated colloidosomes loading doxorubicin hydrochloride and (d) the ones after 120 s ultrasound treatment; (e) the release percentage of Allura Red dye from colloidosomes sealed with a silver shell, polymer shell and left unsealed (error bars of the standard error of measurements, typically ±3%, are not shown for clarity).

The conference included 378 participates, including 20 invited speakers, from 48 countries presenting their recent work in the colloids area. It provided me with a very valuable learning experience and it was an excellent opportunity to listen and communicate with other researchers, including high-ranking, world-leading scientists. In addition, the poster sessions presented many fresh and exciting results, which will form the foundations for new research themes. Consequently, I have met a number of academics and professionals from different countries who have similar research interests such as emulsions, nano-medicine and drug delivery, sensing, and advanced materials.

I would like to thank the Ottewill International Travel Scholarship Committee for funding me to attend the conference, which was very interesting and enriched my experience with more knowledge and confidence.