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Albert Ferriol Monjo

ESR Project 2

University of Southampton, School of Chemistry, Southampton, United Kingdom

Targeting the IRES structure of mRNA for modulating gene translation



Prof. Philippe Barthélémy, University of Bordeaux INSERM U1212 / UMR CNRS 5320 (Academic)

Dr. Krzysztof Kucharczyk, BioVectis (Industrial)


Albert Ferriol obtained his bachelor’s degree in Biotechnology at the University of Lleida, Spain. During his final year, he performed a 6 month secondment at the endocrinology research group at the University of Florence where he could work in quantification and analysis of proteins as a part of his final degree thesis in metabolic dysfunctions of adipose tissue in obese patients undergoing bariatric surgery.

Then, he coursed his master's degree in the field of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology at the University of Barcelona (UB). His thesis was developed at the Department of Biochemistry and Physiology, Faculty of Pharmacy and Food Science (UB). He was involved in preparing and optimizing drug delivery systems and their cytotoxicity and potential selectivity towards selected non-tumoral and tumoral cell lines. The results have been published in the scientific article “Enhanced performance of gelatin 5-fluorouracil-containing nanoparticles against squamous cell carcinoma in simulated chronic wounds conditions” by the journal Materials Science and Engineering: C.

After presenting his final master’s project, he started working as a Research Associate in Nanomol Technologies S.L. During that period, he was working in the encapsulation of different substances in nanoparticles using supercritical fluids.

In 2019, he joined Medcom Advance S.A as Jr. Scientist. His research was focused on the biofunctionalization of nanostructures and their biological characterization.

Project Description

Translation of cellular mRNAs via initiation at internal ribosome entry sites (IRESs) has received increased attention in recent years due to its emerging significance for many physiological and pathological stress conditions in eukaryotic cells. The aim of this ESR PhD project is to develop ONs for highly selective targeting of the cMYC mRNA IRES, thereby avoiding potential confounding effects of broader translational inhibition. Albert will also develop techniques for high-resolution characterisation of the structure of IRES sequences. This will allow us to test an adaptable technology for selective targeting of multiple oncoproteins and to rigorously assess the IRES specificity of our targeting ONs.


This project is carried out in strong collaboration with the following groups:

  • Dr. Krzysztof Kucharczyk, BioVectis, Warsaw, Poland

  • Dr. Tilman Sanchez-Elsner, Southampton Cancer Centre, Southampton, UK

  • Prof. Philippe Barthélémy, University of Bordeaux, France

Project summary in 3 min

Host Laboratory

The research activities in the group of Prof. Stulz are focused on the synthesis of DNA, their modification, and subsequent study of the effects on biological systems, as well as applications in bio-nanotechnology (energy). The group has full access to state-of-the-art laboratories for synthesis and handling of DNA including chemical modification, purification and analysis (HPLC, UV-vis, fluorescence, CD spectroscopy, MS); biological studies (cell viability using flow cytometry, imaging using confocal microscopy, cell transfection etc) are performed with our collaborators at either the Southampton General Hospital (School of Medicine, Cancer Centre), in the School of Biological Sciences or with the partners in the network.




School of Chemistry & Institute for Life Sciences
University of Southampton
Southampton SO17 1BJ

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