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Early Career International Particle Technology Forum 2022

Plenary Speakers

Professor Anna Blakney

Title: Optimizing self-amplifying RNA formulations for protein expression and immunogenicity

Abstract: Self-amplifying RNA (saRNA) is a next-generation platform for nucleic acid vaccines. The backbone, typically derived from an alphaviral genome, encodes a gene of interest (GOI) and a replicase, which is able to amplify the genomic and subgenomic RNA. The self-amplification properties enable use of a much lower dose of saRNA compared to messenger RNA (mRNA), typically 100-fold lower. However, like all RNA, saRNA requires a delivery vehicle to promote cellular uptake and prevent degradation. LNP are the most clinically progressed formulation technology for both saRNA and mRNA, with the recent approval of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, which are both LNP formulations. However, the role of the delivery in the effectiveness of RNA vaccines and therapies is not well understood. Here, we performed a head-to-head comparison of saRNA formulated in LNP and pABOL, a bioreducible polymer that was previously shown to be an efficient delivery vehicle for saRNA vaccines and characterized the protein expression and vaccine immunogenicity of both platforms.

Professor Yongliang Li

Title: Thermal energy storage: Challenges and the role of particle technology

Abstract: Thermal energy storage (TES) has a pivotal role to play in the energy supply chain, in particular in the area of decarbonising heating and cooling to meet our Net Zero garget. A competitive TES technology requires a number of scientific and technological challenges to be addressed in both material aspect and process aspect. This presentation provides a perspective of TES technology with a focus on the role of particle technology in novel TES material fabrications including both composite phase change materials and composite thermochemical energy storage materials, particularly the understanding of the structure–property relationships for the composites which is essential for the formulation design and fabrication of the materials.