Monika Kluzek is pursuing her PhD at The French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), Strasbourg, France. Her work within the Center focuses on developing structure-activity relationship between pH-sensitive nanomaterials and model lipid systems by applying a combination of complementary experimental techniques. She holds a BSc in Chemistry with an emphasis on cellular effects of oxidative stress, from the Jaggielonian Univeristy, Poland. Subsequently, she proceeded to do her MSc studies in the group of Prof. Grzegorz Litwinienko at the University of Warsaw, Poland. As part of her graduation project, she evaluated the antioxidant capacity of bio-nanoparticle along with a contribution of mutual interactions with model lipid membranes. Her master project was funded by Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education. Apart of this project, Monika actively participated in other research grants at the University of Warsaw and presented her results during international meetings. Prior joining the CNRS, she carried out an internship at MEMPHYS – Centre for Biomembrane Physics at the University of Southern Denmark, Denmark, where she broadened her experience in studying thermodynamic properties of biomembranes, and collaborated with a great number of professionals from the field. In 2012 Monika was awarded by one-year scientific fellowship granted by Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education for outstanding achievements.
Monika’s project is a part of the EU-funded, multidisciplinary Network ’Smart Nano-objects for Alteration of Lipid Bilayers’ (ITN-SNAL, http://itn-snal.net/). Currently, she’s spending most of her time working on three subprojects:
1. Translocation of a pH sensitive polymer through lysozyme-mimicking membranes
2. Reorganization of lipid membranes mediated by presence of cyclodextrins
3. Preparation and characterization of lipid cubic phases and their potential in controlled drug delivery (in collaboration with prof. John Seddon, ICL, London).
The overall goal of the project is to develop and characterize smart nano-objects interacting with biological membranes. For the experimental side, a multitude of visualisation (cryo-TEM, confocal fluorescence microscopy) and calorimetric techniques is being used. Furthermore, the structural characteristic of her membranes is obtained at large synchrotron facilities with the help of small angle neutron scattering (SANS) experiments (collaboration with group of prof. Jian Lu, University of Manchester). Taken together, these complementary approaches provide a complete picture of membrane alterations upon interactions with small nano-objects.