Position Role: Research

Position Level: Internship

Position Type: Contract

Position Location: Guelph, ON

Application Deadline: 2018-11-23

Position Overview:

Position Start Date: January 2019

This position is offered in part by the MaRS Student Work Placement program, which connects post-secondary students with work placements in technology and business.


Glysantis (Mirexus Biotechnologies Inc.) is a biotech company active in pre-clinical research & development. Our core technology – NanoDendrixTM – is based on highly branched, plant-derived phytoglycogen nanoparticles. NanoDendrixTM particles are monodisperse (uniform in size), water soluble, all-natural and biodegradable, non-toxic, and have tunable surface chemistry allowing for desirable modifications. The company’s mission is to transfer our innovative nanoparticle platform technology to a wide range of biomedical applications.

Glysantis, Chemistry Department.

The person hired to this position will join a team of multi-disciplinary researchers who will provide one-on-one feedback and suggestions for project advancement at weekly group meetings. Current work at Glysantis can be classified into three main areas: immunomodulation, drug delivery, and anti-infectives. In addition to in-house laboratory facilities in Ontario, Glysantis has partnerships with commercial research organizations and academic collaborations with researchers from Canadian as well as international universities.

Our company offers a multi-cultural and diverse team of supportive and close-knit employees (<30 people), with areas of expertise in multiple fields including microbiology, molecular biology, physics, food science, nanoscience, chemistry, cosmetics, business development, etc.). Since most employees at Glysantis/Mirexus have a strong background in science, the company hosts events including “business-like thinking day”, which allows all employees and students to discuss topics outside their field of focus, such as aspects of marketing, business development, sales, and how our company is doing in each of these areas. Our growth and success stories (e.g. with international distributors) are also shared at monthly town hall meetings.

Project Description:

Cationic polysaccharides are known to possess antimicrobial and immunomodulatory activity, and are used in applications such as cosmetics and hair care products. We have recently prepared cationized phytoglycogen nanoparticles with various degrees of modification, having chloride as the anionic counterpart to the cationic functional group. It is thought that the nature of this counter-ion could impart different properties to the material, such as cell membrane permeability, solubility in various media, as well as ability to associate with other oppositely-charged particles. Since the chloride form is sparingly soluble in many cases, this project aims to improve the material’s solubility, as well as its biological activity, by replacing the chloride ion with a variety of common anions. The new products will be tested for differences in activity with respect to the original material, and further used in the preparation of novel complexation products with charged drug molecules.

Role Description:

The student will prepare new derivatives of cationized phytoglycogen nanoparticles bearing various counter-ions, through aqueous ion-exchange methods. Reaction products will be purified by dialysis or centrifugal filtration, and the degree of anion displacement will be assessed by residual chloride analysis (e.g. silver nitrate precipitation tests and titrations, including quantification by UV-Vis spectrophotometry. Characterization by dynamic light scattering will also be used to understand physical properties of the material such as surface charge, particle size, and tendency to aggregate in solution. Training of techniques will be provided as necessary.

Minimum Qualifications:

The student must qualify for government support (MaRS SWILP) for the duration of the placement. Use of Excel, Word, and PowerPoint.

Area of Study:

Chemistry, synthetic chemistry, nanotechnology, biochemistry, biological and pharmaceutical chemistry


Previous project work in a (synthetic) chemistry lab.

Technical Skills:

Familiarity with standard lab techniques (e.g. pipetting, centrifugation) and lab safety (i.e. WHMIS).

Soft Skills Required:

The applicant will be detail-oriented and conscientious, with strong record keeping skills, the ability to think critically and work with minimal supervision, and to effectively communicate observations and findings.

How to Apply:

Click here to apply. Open link in new window.