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EPSRC - Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

EPSRC and MRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Optical Medical Imaging

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Centre for Doctoral Training in Optical Medical Imaging

The EPSRC and MRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Optical Medical Imaging

University of Edinburgh and University of Strathclyde


We are now looking for to recruit high-calibre postgraduate candidates to join a globally unique, multi-disciplinary team to receive training in Optical Medical Imaging.

A brief description (for more information – see our website) of the final projects on offer are:

1. Tuneable liquid crystal lasers for fluorescence-based retinal disease diagnostics.
This PhD research project will develop newly-emerging tuneable and highly-customisable liquid crystal laser sources, and apply them to the field of fluorescence-based retinal imaging, for the detection of age-related macular degeneration and other ophthalmic diseases.

2. Imaging tumour macrophage polarisation for non-invasive evaluation of anticancer therapy
Our goal is to develop a non-invasive fluorescence nanoprobe to specifically target M1/M2 tumour macrophages Through this, the population of tumour macrophages and the M1/M2 ratio can be determined via optical imaging. The information will be used to assess the outcome of anticancer therapy and the status of tumour to guide doctors in treatment.

3. Segregation and imaging of extracellular vesicles via droplet evaporation
This project combines various imaging techniques to establish a fundamental understanding of drying patterns from liquid biopsy droplets and their association with cancer. Focussing on the analysis of extracellular vesicles in droplets, the ultimate aim will be to develop simple, accessible, clinical tests using smartphone technology at the point of patient care.

4. Advanced Processing Methods for evaluation of organ health using stable Multi-excitation Raman Spectroscopy
The only cure for end-stage liver disease is a transplant and there is a huge shortage of donor organs. Assessing liver quality is currently done visually and there is an opportunity to improve accuracy using Raman Spectroscopy. Through collaboration with DSTL the successful applicant will investigate optical and signal processing innovations of standard Raman spectroscopy by incorporating multi-excitation laser beams, and advanced spectral processing algorithms that allow analysis of complex mixtures without the introduction of spectral artefacts.

Future leaders and innovators

OPTIMA has been established to ensure that the UK has a strong and sustained pipeline of future scientific leaders and innovators in optical medical imaging encompassing the molecular, cellular, preclinical and clinical applications of physical and biomedical science in this priority area.

Science and business hand-in-hand

OPTIMA is a 4 year programme combining excellent research and PhD supervision in world-leading scientific environments, in addition to a bespoke programme of business training in healthcare innovation and entrepreneurship.

Our focus is to train the next generation of scientific entrepreneurs in healthcare technologies and so we place great emphasis on interdisciplinary projects, commercially-relevant training and strong ties to the clinical environment.

The EPSRC and MRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Optical Medical Imaging

A unique training opportunity

PhD students will benefit from summer schools, industrial placements, clinical mentors and an integrated business-skills course delivered in partnership with the University of Edinburgh Business School, the Hunter Centre (University of Strathclyde) and our industrial partners.

OPTIMA students can choose from a range of exciting and innovative projects that breakdown the barriers between physics, chemistry, medicine and engineering.

World-class team

Our pool of OPTIMA supervisors are the best in their fields and have been involved in the spinning-out of a number of companies. They know what it takes to achieve scientific excellence and technological innovation.

Application Process

If you would like to apply to OPTIMA please submit a cover letter and a full up-to-date C.V. with names and addresses of two academic referees.

The cover letter should clearly state your eligibility and why you are interested in applying for a studentship with OPTIMA. At this stage you will be applying to the OPTIMA CDT and not to an individual project.

Send applications to

Note: These studentships are funded by EPSRC / MRC and so are only open to those who satisfy eligibility criteria.

For further information / informal enquiries:

Contact us: Dr Jean O’Donoghue

Centres For Doctoral Training

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