UCL Institute of Healthcare Engineering


4-year fully-funded PhD studentship on sepsis diagnostics

19 October 2018

We are looking for an enthusiastic and highly motivated engineering or physics graduate, with a First or Upper Second Class UK Honours degree or equivalent, to join this project.

Students outside

The project

The project aims at producing novel, point of care tools for early diagnosis and stratification of sepsis, a life threatening and poorly diagnosed condition affecting millions of people worldwide. 

The project will draw on our expertise in microfluidic technologies and microscale blood flows to explore bacteria biophysics in confined flows, separation of bacteria from blood, development of smart and low cost fluidic platforms and bio sensing technologies in order to enable rapid detection and analysis of bacteria and other biomarkers in bodily fluids (esp. blood) and antimicrobial resistance testing at the point-of-care. The focus will be on sepsis, however some of these developments will be applicable to other infections such as urine infections (UTIs).  

Student profile

We are looking for an enthusiastic and highly motivated engineering or physics graduate, with a First or Upper Second Class UK Honours degree or equivalent, to join this project. The role will involve the design and development of microfluidic tools to detect /capture bacteria, image processing and sensing as well as clinical testing. Thus, applicants should demonstrate a strong interest in the field of bio-microfluidics and a set of skills that places them in a good position to conduct research on the interface between engineering and biology. They should demonstrate good knowledge of fluid mechanics or microfluidics, strong analytical skills, creativity and an aptitude for experimental work. Experience in experimental design, instrumentation and Matlab and working in a collaborative interdisciplinary research environment are desirable. Good written and oral communication skills are essential. 

The candidate is expected to acquire an extensive set of skills combining microfabrication, nano-engineering, flow diagnostics and biosensing, imaging and data processing in a translational environment. The project is highly interdisciplinary in nature and will provide opportunities to collaborate with leading engineers and clinicians within UCL as well as the All India Institute of Medial Sciences (AIIMS), India.

The studentship

This is a 4-year PhD studentship, (or 6 years on a part-time basis), funded by the UCL Institute of Healthcare Engineering as part of its frugal innovation initiative in collaboration with the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and School of International Biodesign, India, and in collaboration with Prof Prashant Jha. The studentship is open to EU/UK applicants. The studentship will cover Home/EU tuition fees and an annual stipend of no less than £16,777, increasing annually with inflation. Part-time stipend figures are pro-rata.

The PhD training and research will be carried out within UCL IHE and Mechanical Engineering and supervised by Prof S. Balabani with secondary supervision by Prof M. Tiwari (Nanoengineered Systems Laboratory). The PhD student will have the opportunity to visit AIIMS and experience both the research and hospital environment there, and will also be expected to immerse themselves in the vibrant early career community through the IHE. The first year will comprise a taught element and lab training through an MRes project leading towards the PhD research. For further enquiries please contact s.balabani@ucl.ac.uk

Application and eligibility

Applicants must be meet the EPSRC eligibility conditions to be eligible for the award – in summary this typically means that applicants must have no restrictions on their right to live in the UK permanently and have been resident in the UK for three years immediately prior to the studentship commencing. EU Citizens who have not been residing in the UK for the past 3 years may be eligible for a fees only award. Please see EPSRC’s website for further details: https://www.epsrc.ac.uk/skills/students/help/eligibility/

To apply, please send CVs and cover letters to Prof Stavroula Balabani, s.balabani@ucl.ac.uk.

Deadline for applications: 30 November 2018.

Studentship start date: 2 January 2019