Advanced Biosensors for dementia biomarker detection

   Institute for Materials Discovery

  Dr Bing Li  Saturday, August 31, 2024  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Applications are invited for a PhD studentship to join the Advanced Biosensing group led by Dr Bing Li at the Institute for Materials Discovery (, University College London.

This is a 3-year funded exciting project, to begin in October 2024, which aims to develop a graphene-based biosensor for the detection of dementia blood biomarkers at UCL Institute for Materials Discovery, with aim to deploy the technology into frontline clinical settings for the early diagnosis of dementia diseases.

The PhD project will focus on two key areas: (i) produce probe molecules, e.g. antibody fragment; (ii) the design and fabrication of novel materials-based immunological biosensors. This includes both electrochemical sensors and electrical thin-film sensors for the detection of dementia blood biomarkers; and (ii) characterisation of immunological biosensor using SEM, Raman, AFM etc for morphological features, as well as using electrical/electrochemical methods for the determination of limit-of-detection, sensitivity, stability in buffer solution and clinical samples. This work will lead to the optimisation of biosensor performance, in turn improving the detection of dementia biomarkers for the practical application.

Dr Bing Li’s group has research interests include the study of chemical and physical properties of advanced materials (graphene, carbon nanotube, piezo materials etc) using nanotechnology, the assembly of different chemical and biological wearable/implantable sensors (e.g. DNA, antigen, bacteria, pH, moisture, glucose), as well as an interest in the design of functional micro 3D structures and the adoption of micro 3D structures in enhancing the sensing performance and drug delivery. The two on-going research routes within the group includes: the assembly of biosensors for the detection of dementia protein biomarkers and gene sequences; the development of assistive sensing system for the miniaturised surgical tools, such as integrated sensors for pH, gas molecules and mechanical forces. We actively exploring the opportunities to translate the research results into commercial and clinical settings as practically useful product, in collaborations with multiple patient-centred research groups. We also have a strong emphasis on making our work accessible to the public through outreach and media activities.

The successful candidate must have (or expect to obtain) a 1st or strong 2:1 degree in materials science/engineering, chemical engineering, physics, electrical engineering and/or a broad range of relevant backgrounds at University level. A master’s degree in nanotechnology, biosensing technology, or analytical chemistry is desirable. Candidates with a keen interest in biosensing technology and thin-film fabrication technology are encouraged to apply. The project also requires strong experimental skills to build the purpose-built biosensing testing platforms. The successful candidate will have a strong interest in biosensing technology. They should demonstrate strong desire to learn, and ability to innovate and work independently, as well as excellent oral and written communication skills, good team working skills, and a strong critical thinking capability.

The successful candidate will conduct research in the state-of-the-art new Materials Discovery laboratory ( with a well-funded consumables budget and access to a wide range of experimental facilities. This highly interdisciplinary research will also be in close collaboration with the UK Dementia Research Institute and involve many national and international academic and industrial collaborations. The group provides a dynamic, collaborative, interdisciplinary environment with diverse, talented researchers.

Applications must include a full CV, research statement, and covering letter providing information on why you would be suitable for this scholarship. Applications to be sent directly to Dr Bing Li ().

Biological Sciences (4) Chemistry (6) Engineering (12) Physics (29)

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