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Drug development using brain-on-a-chip technologies

   School of Science

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  Dr P Roach, Dr M Kimber  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The prevalence of neurodegenerative and related brain disorders is increasingly rapidly, linked closely with our aging population. This interdisciplinary project provides an opportunity for an excellent candidate to impact in this area, though diagnostic tool development and synthesis of novel compounds.

The Department of Chemistry at Loughborough University is highly ranked in national league tables, delivering outstanding research supported by excellent facilities. Sitting in the School of Science, this is a vibrant multidisciplinary environment.

Loughborough University is a top-ten rated university in England for research intensity (REF, 2014) and an outstanding 66% of the work of Loughborough’s academic staff who were eligible to be submitted to the REF was judged as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’, compared to a national average figure of 43%.

In choosing Loughborough for your research, you’ll work alongside academics who are leaders in their field. You will benefit from comprehensive support and guidance from our Doctoral College, including tailored careers advice, to help you succeed in your research and future career. 

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The group led by Dr Paul Roach has developed brain-on-a-chip technology for fabrication of designer neural circuitry. These advanced systems enable neural systems to be bioengineered for investigation into disease progression and as a tool for drug development. What is crucially lacking is an ability to rapidly investigate pharmaceutical interaction, not only on individual cell populations, but as a whole over specifically engineered tissue.

The current project will take us a step further in understanding drug interaction within a neural niche, enabling the development of novel compounds with Dr Marc Kimber to target specific biochemical pathways. We will use cutting edge lithographic techniques and in vitro cell culture to screen bio-interactions. Specific molecule classes of interest are anti-inflammatory lignans (e.g. magnosalin) and depsipeptides (e.g. alternaramide), polycyclic ethers and fatty acids, which will be synthesised using industrial process flow chemistry.

Find out more:

For further information on this project, please contact Dr Paul Roach or Dr Marc Kimber. Some of this work is linked with Dr Eric Hill at Aston via an EU-funded project (

Entry requirements for United Kingdom

Applicants will normally need to hold, or expect to gain, at least a 2:1 degree (or equivalent) in Chemistry, Biotechnology or an appropriate Master’s degree.

Please see the programme website for international entry requirements by country.

English language requirements

Applicants must meet the minimum English language requirements. Further details are available on the International website.


All applications should be made online at Under programme name, select ‘Chemistry’ 

Please quote reference number: PR/CM/2022

Funding Notes

Please note that studentships will be awarded on a competitive basis to applicants who have applied to this project and other advertised projects within the School. Funding decisions will not be confirmed until early 2022. The studentship is for three years and provides a tax-free stipend of £15,609 per annum for the duration of the studentship plus tuition fees at the UK rate. International (including EU) students may apply however the total value of the studentship will cover the International Tuition Fee Only.
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