Catching up with Fernanda Alvarado Galindo

Shining light, neutrons and X-rays on liposomes

Fernanda joined the InnovaXN programme in September 2020. Her PhD project at the ILL is focused on the formation of liposomes – spherical lipid nanocontainers used in drug delivery – in collaboration with Evonik and the Technische Universität of Berlin. The project aims to understand the structural rearrangements of phospholipid molecules during liposome formation. This analysis will provide key information to develop more stable and functional formulations, which is of great importance in pharmacology and cosmetics.

Fernanda is getting along well with her project, which she carries out independently with support from her supervisors. Fernanda and her supervisors discuss the results on a regular basis and come up with new ideas to make the project even more rich and dynamic.

Since September, Fernanda has had the possibility to spend time in the lab, preparing different liposome formulations and studying the effect of different parameters on the particles. In Fernanda’s opinion, the project is “exciting as the properties of the nanometre-sized liposomes, are a source of vast amounts of research and publications”.

Fernanda has used several analysis techniques up till now. She worked with light-scattering techniques such as dynamic light scattering and static light scattering. In a few weeks, she will start working with fluorescence measurements to study the permeability of the bilayers under different solvent conditions. She has obtained preliminary results derived from light scattering measurements, but is waiting to perform the key neutron experiments to elucidate the unknowns she has encountered.

Despite the current pandemic situation, she has been able to work on her project. Use of virtual tools has allowed her to maintain contact with her team and fellow PhD students. Although she has not yet had the chance to discover much of the richness of Grenoble, she is positive that the city will eventually come back to life. Meanwhile, she is enjoying a few of the outdoor activities that Grenoble has to offer, such as hiking in the mountains.

Fernanda feels “proud to be part of the InnovaXN programme” since it allows her to see different perspectives of her project. She finds that the many exchanges of ideas between academia and industry have been enriching for her. Fernanda appreciates the facilities ILL gives for both personal and work life, as well as providing an international environment which provides her with of community that has made her settlement in Grenoble very pleasant.

Find out more about the project and Fernanda bellow.

The programme is co-directed by Dr Harald Reichert (Director of Research, ESRF) and Prof Mark Johnson (Science Director, ILL).

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