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Doctor of Philosophy (PhD): Using surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy to improve the delivery of radiotherapy in 3D tumour models

   School of Engineering & Physical Sciences

  Prof D Reid,  Tuesday, February 28, 2023  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Radiotherapy is the most commonly used, and most effective, non-surgical treatment for cancer. However, not all tumors are equally susceptible to radiotherapy e.g. hypoxia (low oxygen availability) plays a crucial role in determining patient response to therapy. In this project we will investigate how to use surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) to understand the role that hypoxia plays in making tumors resistant to therapy. In order to make targeted measurements in 3D tumor models we will investigate how to incorporate SERS sensors so that they don’t change the microenvironment – only report on it. Using a microfabricated device we will control the oxygen concentration and use SERS to report on the pH, oxygen concentration and redox potential in the 3D tumor model. By monitoring these three parameters we will investigate how the response to therapy changes dependent on oxygen concentration and investigate how best to deliver radiotherapy in order to maximise the response to therapy. These findings have the potential to help clinical decision making and have a positive impact on patients’ lives.

The successful applicant will receive technical training in Raman spectroscopy (using both commercial and bespoke instruments), in cell culture and in making advanced 3D tumor models.

CDT Essential Criteria

A Masters level degree (MEng, MPhys, MSc) at 2.1 or equivalent.

Desire to work collegiately, be involved in outreach, undertake taught and professional skills study.


The CDT in Applied Photonics provides a supportive, collaborative environment which values inclusivity and is committed to creating and sustaining a positive and supportive environment for all our applicants, students, and staff. For further information, please see our ED&I statement Forming a supportive cohort is an important part of the programme and our students take part in various professional skills workshops, including Responsible Research and Innovation workshops and attend Outreach Training.

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