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Engineering a novel microneedle patch for minimally invasive diagnosis of cutaneous Leishmaniasis at the point-of-care

   Department of Bioengineering

   Applications accepted all year round  Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

Funding is available for a 4-year PhD studentship at Imperial College London, starting between October 2022 and January 2023. The successful candidate will have a Master’s degree in Physical or Natural Sciences (preferably Bioengineering, Biomaterials, Chemistry or Chemical Biology). They must have a strong interest in biosensor development and translational research. She/he will be supervised by Dr Ladame (Bioengineering), working in collaboration with Dr Pascale Kropf (Infectious disease), and will receive multidisciplinary training in molecular bioengineering/material sciences, physical chemistry and molecular biology. 

Applications can be made by email to . There is no deadline and this studentship will remain live until filled.

Abstract: Cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL), a neglected tropical disease (NTD) primarily affecting the poorest population, causes long-term chronic disabilities and substantial morbidity. However, unlike most other NTDs, the incidence of CL is increasing with an estimated 1 million cases every year. The diagnosis of CL can be difficult, as it can cause lesions of similar appearance to other skin diseases such as leprosy, bacterial and fungal infections and eczema. Therefore, cases have to be confirmed by identifying parasites in skin scrapings using microscopy. This technique involves the use of a scalpel blade to remove tissue from the lesion. This is an invasive and painful procedure that can only be performed by skilled health workers. Herein we will design, develop and test a novel non-invasive microneedle patch for rapid and low-cost diagnosis of cutaneous leishmaniasis, at the point-of-care. It will be based on painless sampling of skin interstitial fluid for the lesion followed by on-patch colorimetric detection of parasite-specific mRNA biomarkers.

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