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A novel microfluidic co-culture platform to study functional responses of neuronal and glial cells ex vivo

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Tuesday, June 30, 2020
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Applications are invited for a three year Postgraduate studentship from ambitious, self-motivated candidates with an interest in refining their skills in the design of microfluidic devices and cell culture. The successful candidate will join the active multidisciplinary research group of Dr Patricia P. Esteban. This opportunity is open to UK and EU students who have at least an Upper Second Class Honours degree in chemical engineering, biochemical engineering, biological sciences or a related subject.

The position is available to start in October 2020.

Background to the Project

The PhD project will investigate how substrate topography, cell alignment and environmental cues influence migration, differentiation and proliferation of neural and glial cells that play a key role in tissue damage and repair within the central nervous system. Thus, the project will involve designing and fabricating microfluidic chips that allow cell alignment and the creation of a chemical gradient of stimuli. The effect of the physical and chemical microenvironment on co-cultures of specific neural and glial cells will then be investigated, providing both in-depth insights into the biological processes and cellular responses that underpin trauma in the central nervous system, and potentially a testing platform for novel treatment options, such as cellular therapies and tissue engineering approaches.

Aston University was ranked in 5th of 94 UK Higher Education Institutions for research in Allied Health Professions (REF 2014) and was ranked 1st for research environment.

Person Specification

The successful applicant should have been awarded, or expect to achieve, a Masters degree in a relevant subject with a 60% or higher weighted average, and/or a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree (or an equivalent qualification from an overseas institution) in chemical engineering, biochemical engineering, biological sciences or a related subject.

Contact information

For formal enquiries about this project contact Dr Patricia P. Esteban by email at

Submitting an application

Details of how to submit your application, and the necessary supporting documents can be found here:
Please ensure to quote ‘AMS_SB_Perez-Esteban’ on all applications.

Please note that a project proposal is not required, however your personal statement should address your ability & knowledge of the research area.

If you require further information about the application process please contact the Postgraduate Admissions team at

Funding Notes

This studentship includes a fee bursary to cover the home/EU fees rate, plus a maintenance allowance of £15,285 per annum (subject to eligibility). This application is only available to Home/EU students.

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