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Clinical Translation of Quantitative Nano-Histology

Project Description

Pathological assessments of human skin are often compromised by high inter and intra-observer variability, which may negatively affect the accuracy of diagnoses and prospective treatment decisions. In addition, these assessments rely heavily on the use of biomarkers and staining approaches to reveal structures of interest that have defined the field of histo-pathology and clinical diagnostic until now. More recently, efforts have been placed in the development of disease-linked biochemical assays to complement the visual assessments of these sections improve diagnostics accuracy. However, tissue sections still withhold a wealth of information about their structure and properties that could help towards a better understanding of pathology investigated. This is provided that one could access these “withheld properties” and understand them as part of a medical diagnostic.

In this project, we are proposing to expand our novel “Quantitative Nano-Histology (QNH)” approach towards clinical practice. Quantitative Nano-Histology is the combination sub-micron structural imaging and mechanical analysis (by of Atomic-Force Microscopy) performed directly on histological samples. Using an in-house developed approach, we have been able to define dermal structural and mechanical markers as a function of ageing for example.

The project will focus on a) the application of QNH combined other multimodal imaging techniques on histologically prepared sections, b) the development of an Artificial Intelligence (AI) approach to automatize the data analysis, c)the interpretation of the measurements for reliable clinical use in fields related to connective tissue disorders and cancers.

In order to develop further this approach, we have secured a number of collaborations across the University Health Network and especially with the Fibrosis Network. The successful applicant will also have access to the new state-of-the-art force spectroscopy and imaging equipment from CAMiLod ( The project will benefit from the growing local expertise from the newly established Bozec’s Lab and the internationally recognized Hinz’s Lab at the University of Toronto. The project will be supervised by both Professor Bozec and Professor Hinz. Any enquiries related to the project should be addressed to

The studentship is due to start in September 2019.

Graduate applicants with a very strong background in biomedical sciences, engineering, physics or medicine are encouraged to apply:

Funding Notes

We are offering a fully-sponsored PhD studentship for 5 years covering both tuitions fees and stipend at the Faculty of Dentistry, University of Toronto, Canada. As English is the primary language at the University of Toronto, applicants must demonstrate an adequate level of proficiency in English (View Website). All applicants are required to send a full CV, covering letter and a minimum of 2 references. Applicants with a GPA>3.7/4 and meeting the English Proficiency requirements would be eligible for direct entry into PhD. Applicants with a lower GPA ought to present a supplementary 1-page case in support.

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