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Ingestible Electronic Systems for Chemical Detection of Gastrointestinal Inflammation

   Department of Mechanical Engineering

   Friday, February 24, 2023  Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

Ingestible electronic devices with integrated sensing that can easily be swallowed by the majority of the population have enabled minimally invasive examination or treatment of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. This platform technology has the potential to screen for diseases that are challenging to detect at an early stage using other clinical methods. Many current ingestible devices are limited by the integrated sensors used to detecting pressure, temperature and pH. However, there are a wide range of chemical and biological markers of disease that cannot currently be detected due to a lack of suitable sensors and various related technical challenges such as packaging.

The successful applicant will build on past work by the group in wireless ingestible electronic devices to create a chemical-sensing ingestible electronic device capable of detecting clinically used chemical markers of GI inflammation. The sensor will utilise electrochemical detection principles due to ease of integration with the electronic system. The applicant will also investigate the challenges to effective sensing within the GI tract, such as fouling of the sensor, packaging to protect the sensor from the harsh GI environment as well as benchmarking the sensing systems performance in a benchtop phantom/mimic of the GI environment.

The applicant must have an excellent undergraduate degree (1st class honours degree) in Electronic, Mechanical, Chemical or Biomedical Engineering. Ideally, they would have practical experience in electronics and embedded system design. Knowledge of medical devices or sensor design is not essential but desirable. The applicant should be willing to acquire new skills, training will be provided in sensor design and testing.

The University of Birmingham is a QS Top 100 University that is uniquely positioned to benefit any applicant interested in a future career in healthcare technology. The University emphasises the clinical translation of innovative research to ensure real-world impact through the Healthcare Technologies Institute and the Precision Healthcare Technology Accelerator. The School of Engineering also has an established Biomedical Engineering research group with links to several SME and multinational medical device companies.

Interested applicants must apply for this position using the university portal -

Informal enquiries are encouraged and should be addressed to Dr Gerard Cummins at the School of Engineering ()

Funding Notes

This is a self-funded PhD project through several scholarships that cover Home (UK and Republic of Ireland) student fees and annual stipends are available from the School of Engineering for exceptional applicants. However, it should be noted that the award of these scholarships is highly competitive. Students applying for their own funding are encouraged to contact Dr Cummins as soon as possible.

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