Pascal Welzen (Stein, 1990) received his MSc in Molecular Chemistry from Radboud University in 2016. During his Master traineeship he worked on the chemical synthesis of the MS2 viral capsid protein by solid phase peptide synthesis and native chemical ligation at the group of Jan van Hest (Radboud University). Before starting his Master education Pascal did his Bachelor internship at the TNO Eindhoven conducting research on self-healing thermos reversible bio based coatings. At the moment he is working as a PhD student on polymer assemblies for antigen display.
Polymersomes are an interesting group of polymeric vesicles. Due to their ability to encapsulate cargo, e.g. antigen/peptides, it is possible to use polymersomes for drug delivery systems. By altering the composition of the block copolymer it is possible to control the polymersome size and membrane thickness and, consequently, the drug release profile. A cocktail of different sized polymersomes with various membrane thicknesses creates a multi stage drug release profile enhancing immune response. Furthermore, by functionalizing the outer membrane with bioactive compounds targeted delivery of these vesicles is enhanced.
The main focus of this project is to create a system able to encapsulate, carry, target and release streptococcal antigens and peptides, focused on creating an enhanced vaccine formulation designed to eliminate bacterial infections.