Professor Urszula Stachewicz leads research project as part of the First Team Programme

Cross section of polymer nanofibres which can be used in the process of building nanosponges.

Foundation for Polish Science has awarded professor Urszula Stachewicz of the Faculty of Metals Engineering and Industrial Computer Science a 2m PLN grant for the project on ‘Nanosponges for the treatment of atopic dermatitis’. The funding was awarded within the framework of the fourth contest of the First Team initiative.

The international research team headed by the researcher from AGH Uniersity of Science and Technology will develop a system of dressings based on polymer nanofibres and essential oils for treatment of atopic dermatitis and skin allergies, among others. The researchers aim to deliver an effective method of controlled and prolonged release of medicinal substances to moisturize dry and irritated skin. 

Nanofibres, which are million times thinner than a human hair, create very large and active surfaces while their entangled mesh is characterised by very high porosity of up to 95%. The project aims to develop an innovative mechanism of releasing medicinal agents from nanosponges created on the basis of nanofibres in order to ensure lasting medicinal effect. Scientific research will rely heavily on advanced microscopy in order to look into the moisture capacity of nanofibres for the development of new theories and mechanisms supporting release of medicinal substances from nanosponges.

The project will be delivered in co-operation with US (Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard Medical School) and Israel (Technion – Israel Institute of Technology) partners.

78 applications have been sent in for the fourth contest within the First Team Programme. Of all applications received, the team reviewers and experts recommended 11 projects for funding with a total budget of 21.6m PLN. The funds awarded by Foundation for Polish Science will enable the selected leaders to create research teams and finance salaries for researchers employed in the projects as well as scholarships for students and PhD candidates involved in research work.

The First Team Programme is addressed to young researchers at the key stage of their careers, when they begin to build up their research autonomy. The programme aims to help them pursue the most inspiring research challenges by supporting the creation of first research teams. Research and development work can receive funding to the amount of approximately 2m PLN for the period of 3 years. The grants are financed through the Intelligent Development Operational Programme.