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Low-cost and rapid paper-based microfluidics for the detection of irradiated foods


   Institute for Global Food Security

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  Dr C Cao, Prof C Elliott  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

Project details:

Irradiations have been exploited as a preservation technique to eliminate indigenous microflora, thereby extending shelf-life of foods. Associated consequences of the process lead to cascade changes in physical, chemical, and biological composition of foods. Differentiation between irradiated and non-irradiated foods remains an unresolved analytical problem, and therefore is not fully understood and accepted by all customers.

This project is proposed to develop a low-cost and rapid paper-based microfluidics device for the detection of irradiated food. Under irradiation, DNA molecules are either denaturised, fragmented, or broken, resulting in apoptosis or viable but non-culturable state of living cells. The proposed device will be used to differentiate intact and damaged states of DNA by following a colorimetric signal that can be simply quantified by the naked eye or by a mobile phone App. Multidisciplinary science about design and fabrication of paper-based microfluidics, colorimetric sensing, image analysis, and molecular bioanalysis will be brought in for the implementation of the project.

Once successfully developed, the device can be used as a low-cost, rapid, and portable tool to detect irradiated foods aiding in compliance with existing regulations and labelling requirements for integrity and traceability of food irradiation, and to give consumers an opportunity to choose foods.

This project will be supervised by Dr Cuong Cao and Professor Chris Elliott of Queen’s University School of Biological Sciences/Institute for Global Food Security.

All applications MUST be submitted through https://dap.qub.ac.uk/portal/user/u_login.php.

Specific skills/experience required by applicants:

Successful candidates are expected to have experience in isothermal amplification of DNA, molecular diagnostic techniques, and diagnostic paper-based devices. In addition, synthesis, characterization, functionalization, application of plasmonic nanomaterials, and hands-on experience of vibrational spectroscopy and absorption spectroscopy are a plus.

All applicants must meet the academic entry requirements: https://www.qub.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate-research/biological-sciences-phd.html#entry

Funding Notes

Only UK and EU students are eligible to apply. Before applying, it is strongly recommended that you read the full information on eligibility criteria available from DfE: https://www.economy-ni.gov.uk/sites/default/files/publications/economy/post-graduate-studentships-terms-conditions-19-20.pdf.

Please note in particular that not all successful applicants may be eligible to receive a full studentship (i.e. fees and stipend) - please read in detail the Residency and Citizenship requirements in the document linked to above.
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