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LKAS Studentship: Development of novel optical technology to assess electrical activity of hearts

Project Description

A PhD studentship is available in the Imaging Concepts Group at Glasgow University, researching advanced multi-photon microscopy. The aim of the project is to develop ways to optically read out voltage sensitive dyes at increased depth in murine hearts.
In the heart, function and structure are intricately related, therefore, to understand the formation of arrhythmias, we need to investigate cellular electrophysiology within its native structural environment. Optical methods based on multiphoton microscopy are ideally suited as they are non-invasive and robust to scattering tissue. This project will develop novel optical technology such as temporal focusing and 3-photon microscopy to investigate electrical activity deep within the wall of the heart chamber to unlock cardiac conduction transmurally in health and disease. The student will develop novel multi-photon tools to optically read out voltage sensitive dyes deep inside the heart: to date, there is no way to measure cardiac electric excitation across the entire depth of the ventricle wall. From a technical point of view the question is whether strategies to extend the imaging depth in ubiquitous 2-photon microscopy are sufficient or whether ultimately only 3-photon excitation will provide the necessary resilience to scattering. The fundamental imaging depth in 2P microscopy is reached when the signal-to-background ratio reaches unity. Temporal focusing disperses the frequency components of the laser pulse by a diffraction grating, recombining them only in the focal plane. This directly shifts the SBR in favour of in-focus fluorescence to achieve deeper imaging. This technique has recently been proposed in deep brain imaging with great potential.
The NHS highlights that 2 million people are affected by abnormal heartbeats, or arrhythmias, in the UK per year. This project will establish a novel perspective in cardiac electrophysiology by developing disruptive optical technology with wide applicability in the study of a global health issue.

• Skills/Attributes
o Problem solving skills and research creativity, able to apply own strong academic knowledge to unfamiliar interdisciplinary scenarios
o Self-motivation, initiative and independent thought/working
o Excellent interpersonal skills including team working and a collegiate approach
o Excellent communication skills (oral and written) in an appropriate range of contexts

More information on the application process can be found here:

Applicants may submit applications up until the application deadline of 12 noon, Monday 13 January 2020.

Funding Notes

Applicants must have a 2:1 or 1st Honours degree or equivalent in an appropriate technical discipline, or the expectation of obtaining this by the start of the project. Suitable candidates may come from a diverse range of backgrounds including physics, chemistry, engineering or biology, but a commitment to cross-disciplinary collaborative working is essential.

Prospective applicants should send a CV and covering letter to Dr Caroline Müllenbroich, , describing briefly what interests them about this specific project, and detailing how they meet the above criteria. Informal inquiries are also welcomed at the same address.

How good is research at University of Glasgow in Biological Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 60.34

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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