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(BBSRC DTP) Improving 3D X-ray Imaging of Live Cells and Soft Tissues


Project Description

Clinical X-ray imaging in three dimensions (commonly referred to as a CT scan) is a key diagnostic tool. Micro-computed X-ray tomography (microCT) has the potential to image relatively large biological samples in 3D at sub-micron resolution. However, X-ray attenuation (and therefore image contrast) is low in non-calcified biological samples. Recently we have shown that phase contrast approaches can resolve key tissue sub structures in both chemically fixed (arteries and skin) and native (intervertebral disc) organs. This project aims to develop new approaches to non-destructively image living cells and soft tissues in three dimensions (3D). The following situations will be considered:

1. Use of novel contrast agents for live cells or specific structural components of tissue (eg fascicle of a tendon) for both static and loaded conditions
2. Use of novel phase contrast technique for live cells or specific structural components of tissues for both static and loaded conditions
3. The effect of the level ionising radiation exposure (at a level comparable to the above two techniques) on both cell activity (assessed proteomically) and tissue mechanics.

Recent developments in high-resolution (up to 50nm in some cases) imaging techniques will be utilised to gather data for on-going experiments including tracking of live mesenchymal stem cells in a tissue engineered construct and the characterization of healthy and tumour-containing breast tissue.

The student on this project will make use of the CT equipment in the Henry Moseley Imaging Facility http://www.mxif.manchester.ac.uk and there is also potential to utilise Synchrotron Imaging at Diamond, Oxfordshire http://www.diamond.ac.uk/Home.html. In addition, there is an opportunity for collaboration in this project with a group in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. Skills obtained during this PhD will be cell culture, CT imaging and image analysis, proteomics, tissue engineering and mechanical testing.

Due to the multidisciplinary nature of this project, students from a variety of backgrounds are welcomed but will be expected to learn during the PhD about not only CT imaging technique but also the tissue / cells they are studying and the analysis of the image data collected.

http://www.mxif.manchester.ac.uk
http://www.diamond.ac.uk/Home.html
http://research.bmh.manchester.ac.uk/bioafm

Entry Requirements:
Applications are invited from UK/EU nationals only. Applicants must have obtained, or be about to obtain, at least an upper second class honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject.

Funding Notes

This project is to be funded under the BBSRC Doctoral Training Partnership. If you are interested in this project, please make direct contact with the Principal Supervisor to arrange to discuss the project further as soon as possible. You MUST also submit an online application form - full details on how to apply can be found on the BBSRC DTP website View Website

As an equal opportunities institution we welcome applicants from all sections of the community regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation and transgender status. All appointments are made on merit.

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