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University of Portsmouth Featured PhD Programmes
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Enhanced endoscopic screening of polyps in the upper gastrointestinal tract


School of Mechanical and Design Engineering

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Prof R Lee , Dr Martino Pani , Dr Andrea Bucchi , Dr Afshin Anssari-Benam No more applications being accepted Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Applications are invited for a fully funded three-year PhD to commence in October 2020.

The PhD will be based in the Faculty of Technology, and will be supervised by Professor Raymond Lee, Dr Martino Pani, Dr Andrea Bucchi, Dr Afshin Anssari-Benam and Mr Simon Toh, Queen Alexandra Hospital.

This PhD studentship is one of six PhD studentships funded by the University of Portsmouth in the area of biomaterials and bioengineering. These studentships will support the University’s strategic plan engaging with clinicians working in Portsmouth Hospital Trust to solve real-life medical problems. The successful applicants would be part of a cross-faculty research cluster in medical technologies. This programme of research involves several Schools based in the Faculty of Science and Health and the Faculty of Technology. The vision of the cluster is to train a cohort of PhD students who contribute to the academic environment, some of whom would be expected to develop academic careers in this expanding area whilst others would be employed in the growing international medical technologies industry. Training would be enhanced by extended visits to other institutions involved in similar research and by visits to hospitals to meet with clinicians involved in the research projects.

The work on this project could involve:
● the use of sensors and imaging methods to enhance the clinical detection and assessment of polyps during endoscopy
● a clinical study to evaluate the feasibility and accuracy of the enhanced endoscopic procedure
● hospital placement to develop clinical skills and experience

Endoscopy is a clinical procedure commonly used to examine polyps (abnormal growth) in the upper gastrointestinal tract, but its detection is sometimes missed. The measurement of its location and size is often inaccurate. The polyp may be malignant (cancerous) or subsequently become malignant, and thus accurate detection and assessment of the polyp is clinically important.

The purpose of this study is to enhance polyp screening through the use of position sensors and imaging methods. The motions of the head of the endoscope will be tracked using a miniature sensor so as to provide the surgeon with real time information about its location. Imaging processing method will be used to help detect any polyp and provide an alert signal to the surgeon, reducing the chance of a polyp being missed in the examination. Once the surgeon has located the polyp, its size will be estimated. This is a collaborative PhD programme between the University of Portsmouth and Queen Alexandra Hospital. A clinical study will also be carried out to evaluate the feasibility and accuracy of the enhanced endoscopic procedure. The PhD candidate will be expected to spend 20% of the time in the endoscopic unit of the hospital (average one day per week). This is to equip the candidate not only with academic research skills but also clinical experience which will allow the person to pursue a “chartered scientist” career, in accordance with the framework of Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine.

General admissions criteria
You will need a good first degree (minimum upper second class or equivalent, or preferably first class) or a Master’s degree in biomedical engineering, mechanical or electronic engineering. For EU candidates whose first language is not English, an IELTS score of 6.5 overall is expected (or equivalent qualification), with at least 6.0 in each of the four components (Listening, Reading, Speaking and Writing).

Specific candidate requirements
You must be keen to engage with interdisciplinary research, collaboration, and teamwork, and expected to have a strong knowledge of engineering mechanics, sensors, imaging processing methods and programming. You must have a strong interest in clinical science and working closely with clinical staff in the hospital environment.

How to Apply
We’d encourage you to contact Professor Raymond Lee ([Email Address Removed]) (the Principal Investigator of this project) to discuss your interest before you apply, quoting the project code.

When you are ready to apply, you can use our online application form. Make sure you submit a personal statement, proof of your degrees and grades, details of two referees, proof of your English language proficiency and an up-to-date CV. Our ‘How to Apply’ page offers further guidance on the PhD application process.

If you want to be considered for this funded PhD opportunity you must quote project code SMDE5060120 when applying.

Funding Notes

The scholarship covers tuition fees and an annual maintenance grant of £15,009 (UKRI 2019/20 rate) for three years. Scholarship recipients will also receive up to £3,000 for research project costs/consumables during the duration of the programme.
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