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A scalable, synthetic retina: signal processing in droplet systems using DNA

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  • Full or part time
    Dr Matt Baker
    Assoc Prof B Ferrari
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

UNSW is now accepting expression of interest for the next round of Scientia PhD Scholarships, including our project:

A scalable, synthetic retina: signal processing in droplet systems using DNA

These are exciting four-year scholarships to start in 2020 with full fees covered, a generous stipend, and career development funds.

Scheme URL:
Application closing date: 12 July 2019
Location: University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

Silicon devices are not suited to biological conditions and are typically not compatible with immersion in aqueous environments. Instead of attempting to improve the biocompatibility of existing technology, we strive to make biomolecular analogues of solid-state circuitry. Inspired by the mammalian retina, we mimic the eye to develop a modular, droplet-based system that can detect spatial patterns of light and convert them into chemical and electrical signals for biosensing. We propose to develop in vitro light sensing and processing biotechnology, from the bottom up, out of biomolecules – lipids, proteins and DNA.

The candidate should have have an undergraduate degree in either biophysics, biochemistry or medical science. Students with backgrounds in mathematical and physical sciences or engineering, ie not necessarily biochemistry, are also encouraged to apply, as this project is highly interdisciplinary and can build on mathematical background to teach biological and lab-based skills. The candidate should have some familiarity or experience with one of DNA nanotechnology or electrophysiology or microscopy, and demonstrate the appropriate versatility to further develop their skills in the other areas.

Dr Matthew Baker – Science: Biotechnology & Biomolecular Sciences
Prof Boris Martinac – Medicine: St Vincent’s Clinical School
A/Prof Belinda Ferrari – Science: Biotechnology & Biomolecular Sciences

Complete an expression of interest at:

The strongest expressions will receive an invitation to submit a full application to the scholarship competition.

About the School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences:
The School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences is one of the largest and most prestigious schools of scientific research and teaching in Australia. Research in the School ranges from human bacterial pathogens, hepatitis viruses, tissue engineering, cancer, cell biology, genetics and bioinformatics to functional genomics and extremophiles. Our staff have an international reputation for research excellence and have established collaborative links with industry and other research institutions in Australia and overseas.

About UNSW Sydney:
UNSW Sydney is a powerhouse of cutting-edge research, teaching and innovation. UNSW is one of the top 100 universities in the world, with more than 59,000 students and a 7,000-strong research community. Located in Sydney, Australia’s largest city, the University was established in 1949 with a unique focus on the scientific, technological and professional disciplines. UNSW is committed to making a difference by focusing on areas critical to the future. Pioneering research and sustained innovation are addressing some of the most important issues of today – from climate change and renewable energies to lifesaving medical treatments and breakthrough technologies. In the social sciences, UNSW research informs policy and expert commentary in issues facing society, ranging from human rights and constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians to public health and population ageing. UNSW offers an extensive range of undergraduate, postgraduate and research programs.

To discuss the project and related opportunities, please contact Matt Baker ([Email Address Removed]) or Boris Martinac ([Email Address Removed]).

Funding Notes

The UNSW Scientia PhD Scholarship Scheme is part of our dedication to harnessing our cutting-edge research to solve complex problems and improve the lives of people in local and global communities. Scientia candidates will have a strong commitment to making a difference in the world with demonstrated potential for contributing to the social engagement and/or global impact pillars of the UNSW 2025 Strategy.
Applicants are required to express their interest in a specific research area with an identified supervisory team. There are over 190 research projects to choose from.

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