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Developing Bone Secondary Microenvironments for Personalised Medicine

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  • Full or part time
    Prof KE Tanner
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About This PhD Project

Project Description

This project is part of the A*STAR Research Attachment Programme, through which students spend the middle 2 years conducting research at one of the A*STAR Research Institutes in Singapore, under the supervision of an A*STAR supervisor. Year 1 and the final 6 months will be spent at Queen Mary University of London.

This project will develop a microenvironment to model of bony secondaries, how they develop and grow. The aim to allow optimisation of drugs or drug combinations for individual patients. Bone is a stiff tissues thus secondary tumours (metastases) that develop in bone are particularly painful due the pressure that they exert on the surrounding bone which cannot expand easily to allow tumour growth. This pressure generates a unique environment with low oxygen concentration (hypoxia) and contact with bone giving novel combination of biochemical and biomechanical signals. Optimising the drug regime for a specific patient a similar environment is complex and multidisciplinary, combining biomaterials, biomechanics and cell biology.

Year 1 QMUL Prepare and structurally characterise natural polymer–bone mineral analogue composite materials with Professor Tanner. A range of natural polymers and bone minerals will be used.
Year 2 NTU Use the most relevant combinations of materials to manufacture niches into which cells will coalesce with Assistant Professor Tay in Materials.
Year 3 NTU Undertake biological assessment: immunostaining, real time PCR, bioinformatics, etc with Associate Professor Tan in Biological Sciences.
Final 6 months QMUL Write up thesis and complete paper submission.

QMUL/ A*STAR Research Studentship Details
• Available to Home/EU Applicants only.
• Full Time programme only.
• Applicant required to start in September/ October 2019.
• The studentship is jointly funded by QMUL and A*STAR Singapore. Alongside full tuition fees and living stipend (currently set as
£17,009 in 2019/20) for 3.5 years. A*STAR will provide additional funds for relocation and flights.
• Awardees will typically spend up to 2 years at A*STAR research institutes and are provided with the following during their attachment
in Singapore: Monthly stipend of S$2,500; One-time airfare grant of up to S$1,500; One-time settling-in allowance of S$1,000
(provided that you spend at least 1 year at an A*STAR research institute); Medical insurance; Conference allowance.
• The minimum requirement for this studentship opportunity is a good Honours degree (minimum 2(i) honours or equivalent) or
MSc/MRes in a relevant discipline, such as engineering or materials.
• If English is not your first language then you will require a valid English certificate equivalent to IELTS 6.5+ overall with a minimum
score of 6 in Writing and 5.5 in all sections (Reading, Listening, Speaking).
• Please note that this studentship is only available to Home/EU Applicants. (See: for

Supervisor Contact Details
For informal enquiries about this position, please contact Professor Liz Tanner OBE FREng FRSE
Tel: 020 7882 6785
E-mail: [Email Address Removed]

Or Assistant Prof Dalton Tay, School of Materials Science and Engineering, NTU
Phone: (+65) 6316 8921
E-mail: [Email Address Removed]

Application Method
To apply for this studentship and for entry on to the Biomedical Materials programme (Full Time) please follow the instructions detailed on the following webpage:

Research degrees in Materials:

Further Guidance:

Please be sure to include a reference to ‘2019 QMRS ASTAR EKT’ to associate your application with this studentship opportunity.

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