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Anglia Ruskin University ARU Featured PhD Programmes
Anglia Ruskin University ARU Featured PhD Programmes

Biomimetic control of ovarian follicle development: combining multi-scale soft biomaterials with biochemical interactions

Institute of Chemical Biology

London United Kingdom Bioinformatics Biomedical Engineering Cell Biology Genetics Molecular Biology

About the Project


Dr Iain Dunlop

Professor Kate Hardy

Professor Stephen Franks 


Ovarian bioengineering is emerging as a new interdisciplinary field. Recent advances show that eggs, and their encapsulating follicle structures, are directed in their development by their physical and biomechanical microenvironments, in addition to traditional ideas of hormonal control. New work by our labs reveals a complex multiscale biomechanical environment inside the ovary ( The student will apply these insights to create new in vitro culture systems, structured over micro- to nano-lengthscales, that mimic the ovary interior. These will combine soft biomaterials chemistry with microfluidic fabrication and biochemical approaches to cell-stimulation. This technology platform will be used to investigate the systems biology of the ovary, aiming for an integrated physical/biochemical understanding. This has implications for fertility, since dysregulation of follicle development is a major driver of female infertility, e.g. polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS); premature ovarian insufficiency (POI). The project will fit a student with a Chemistry, Materials, Bioengineering, Chemical Engineering or Physics background and a strong interest in interdisciplinary research.

Applicants need to apply through the Imperial College Gateway, via

Funding Notes

The awarding body for the ICB CDT studentships is the EPSRC. Students must therefore conform to the eligibility requirements laid down by the EPSRC. Applications will be accepted from both ‘Home’ and ‘International’ fee status students, although only a limited number of ‘International’ fee status students are eligible for this scholarship. All students must have a good honours degree (2.1 or above) in a physical sciences subject at MSci level (or equivalent).

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