Targeted Drug Delivery for Oncology Applications

Scientific Context of the Project

Quality of life for cancer patients is drastically reduced due to deleterious side effects of chemotherapy. As the chemotherapy agents, which are the forefront tools to fight against cancer, are extensively toxic to the whole body, these conventional cancer treatment drugs attack cancer cells as well as healthy cells, leaving the patient vulnerable to other diseases.

Our solution offer to this problem is to package the chemotherapy agent in a manner to protect the agent from the body and the body from the agent till it reaches its destination: the tumor. The packaging, grandiosely termed as the nanomedicine, will be referring to the polymer therapeutic, more precisely polymer-drug conjugate. Polymer therapeutics share many properties of the biologics (proteins, antibodies, oligonucleotides) with a bonus of synthetic chemistry utilities: tailoring of molecular weight and addition of biomimetic and bioresponsive features to the man-made construct. The successful polymer-drug conjugate has many advantages including improved water solubility (physical properties) and pharmacokinetic properties (the way the molecules behave in the body), better toxicity profile (reduced side effects), less frequent administration in the clinic and a patent application as a new entity patent, indulging the pharmaceutical industry.

The sub projects of the thesis will gather around the theme of novel nanocarriers, starting from the preparation and continuing on the evaluation of the nanomedicines in vitro and in vivo. Our prior experience in developing nanomedicines from bench to bedside via the start-up approach will enlighten our way in moving these academic curiosities into high-impact solutions. 

Innovative Aspects of the Project

The novelty stems from the design of the polymeric carriers and drug-linker-polymer-antibody combinations. A modular synthetic approach to assemble the targeted nanomedicines will enable novel entities with very high drug to antibody ratios (DARs). The nanomedicines will be evaluated in vitro in 3D cell cultures (organoids).

Research Environment and Infrastructure

Boğaziçi University one of the top public universities in Turkey. It has excellent research facilities to conduct cutting-edge projects. The researcher will have access to labs ( and instrumentation at the Center for Life Sciences and Technologies (, Institute of Biomedical Engineering ( and the Department of Chemistry (

Preferred Academic Background

Chemistry, Pharmacy

Required GRE Score

GRE Quantitative 156.00

Project Acronym


Main Supervisor

Prof. Rana Sanyal (BOUN)


Prof. Cengizhan Ozturk (BOUN)

Prof. Esra Erdal (IBG)

Recruiting Institution

Boğaziçi University, Institute of Biomedical Engineering, Kandilli Campus, Çengelköy/İstanbul

PhD Awarding Institution

Boğaziçi University, Institute of Biomedical Engineering

PhD Title

PhD in Biomedical Engineering

International Academic Secondment

Università della Svizzera italiana, Institute of Oncology Research, Bellinzona, Switzerland

Intersectoral Mobility

RS Research (TUR) and Istanbul Health Industry Cluster (ISEK)