Katharina Richter

KatharinaCollege: Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen, Germany

Thesis title: MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry to assess polymerization in polymeric nanoparticles

Co-supervisors:  Prof. Thomas Rades (School of Pharmacy, University of Otago), Alex Kafka (School of Pharmacy, University of Otago), Dr Torsten Kleffmann (Department of Biochemistry, University of Otago)

Project description:  Polymeric nanoparticles have been investigated for their use as oral delivery systems for bioactive peptides, including fertility control agents for the brushtail possum in New Zealand, specifically gonadotropin releasing hormone (D-Lys6-GnRH).

MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry is a modern technique that can be used to characterise molecular interaction of peptides with polymeric delivery systems. Using MALDI-TOF, we have demonstrated that the histidine amino acid in the bioactive peptide (D-Lys6-GnRH) interacts in the polymerisation reaction during formation of poly(ethyl cyanoacrylate) (PECA) nanoparticles and results in peptide-polymer conjugates that alter the release kinetics (Kafka et al. 2009). We are interested to see if the same trend of co-polymerisation occurs with PLGA nanoparticles.