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.


Mirexus is a Guelph-based company which has developed processes for purifying naturally-occurring nanoparticles, marketed as PhytoSpherix™. These unique ‘nano by nature’ particles are at the core of the company’s R&D in advancing natural, safe and green applications for the cosmetic, nutraceutical and pharmaceutical industries. Our goal is to develop new formulations and applications of this all-natural, non-toxic and water-soluble nanoparticle in a variety of settings to enhance currently available cosmetic, nutraceutical or pharmaceutical treatments.

Mirexus Biotechnologies, Science Team

The person hired to this position will join a team of multi-disciplinary researchers and will conduct various experiments to improve formulations containing our phytoglycogen nanoparticles. The efficacy of the new formulations will be tested by our collaborators for enhancement in physical properties such as hydration and skin penetration, as well as for enhancement in biological activities (if applicable). In addition to in-house laboratory facilities in Ontario, our team has partnerships with commercial research organizations and academic collaborators from Canadian as well as international universities.

Our company consists of a multi-cultural and diverse team of supportive and close-knit employees (<30 people), with areas of expertise in a wide range of fields including microbiology, molecular biology, physics, food science, nanoscience, chemistry, cosmetics, business development, etc.). Since most employees at 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:

In this project, currently available formulations of PhytoSpherix will be optimized for customer use. This involves identification and quantitative characterization of plant-derived raw materials from production (lipids/protein) and reduction of these species in cosmetic formulations. On another front, the project will investigate the use of the nanoparticles as an excipient to improve the stability and biological activity of current drug formulations on the market. Certain drugs show improved solubility through complexation with phytoglycogen. This solubility enhancement could be expanded to a broad class of pharmaceutical agents, making their formulations more viable.

Role Description:

The student will help devise a method (e.g. pH-dependent treatment, micro/ultrafiltration, ion-exchange chromatography, SPE or solvent extractions) to remove plant-derived species present in phytoglycogen samples, which will reduce precipitation or aggregation in solution to improve cosmetic formulations. The student will also investigate physical and chemical properties of nanoparticle complexes, such as the degree and mode of association between drug and phytoglycogen nanoparticle to understand their kinetics of release. This will be analyzed by spectroscopic methods such as FT-IR and 1D/2D NMR experiments
before and after various physical or chemical treatments. Training in requisite techniques will be provided as necessary.

Minimum Qualifications:

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

Area of Study:

Chemistry, nanotechnology, biochemistry


Previous project work in a lab setting.

Technical Skills:

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

Soft Skills:

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.