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Engineering a clinical microprobe platform for continuous analyte monitoring during labour


Project Description

Every year in the UK, over 1,100 term babies die or are left severely disabled as a result of
incidents that occur around the time of birth. Improved monitoring of foetal wellbeing
during labour could make a difference in nearly half of such cases. There is an unmet need for a device capable of doing this to detect babies at risk of hypoxic birth injury and prevent unnecessary obstetric interventions.

This PhD project will be centred around the development of a microprobe for extracting clinically relevant diagnostic fluids from foetuses during labour. This continuous sensing platform will make use of microfabrication and biomedical engineering approaches for the development of a minimally invasive device. To achieve this, applicants will ideally have a strong first degree in engineering, and an interest in microfabrication and sensors. Mechanical, Biomedical or related degrees will be a particular advantage for these projects.

The selected candidate for this project will be working with a unique obstetric and engineering team, comprising clinicians, biomedical and electrical engineers and chemists. The role is funded through the Scottish Research Partnership in Engineering (SRPe) and Tommy’s charity. Being supported by Tommy’s means that the candidate will also be part of a larger network of scientists and engineers attempting to improve the outcomes of pregnancy and pre-term birth in the UK.

This project will be a collaboration between the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences at Heriot-Watt University, the Tommy’s Centre Edinburgh, based in the MRC Centre for Reproductive Health (CRH) in Edinburgh BioQuarter (Little France Campus) and the Institute for Integrated Micro and Nano Systems (IMNS), based at the Scottish Microelectronics Centre (SMC), School of Engineering at The University of Edinburgh. The combination of these multidisciplinary environments means that the student will have access to both clinical and specialised engineering disciplines.

Applicants must have a first class or 2:1 undergraduate degree (or those who expect to attain one by the end of this academic session) in mechanical engineering, biomedical engineering, microfabrication or related disciplines.
Applicants must be able to enrol and commence the PhD by 30th June 2020.

We are looking for a self-motivated and enthusiastic individual, who is excited by the chance to work in a multi-disciplinary environment. We expect the applicant to be an active group participant and enjoy working with others, as this project will require cross-disciplinary collaboration. Research experience and experimental lab-based project experience will be looked upon favourably.

To apply or for informal enquires please contact Dr Michael Crichton () or Prof Fiona Denison () with a copy of your CV and details on your motivation for the project.

Funding Notes

This project is funded for 4 years via the Tommy's Centre Edinburgh and the Scottish Research Partnership in Engineering at a standard stipend rate of £15k per year. This project is for UK/EU residents only, and the student MUST be able to enrol and start the PhD by the 30th June.

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