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Microfluidic technologies for investigating vascular cell physiology

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  • Full or part time
    Dr M Zagnoni
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

Medical Research Scotland
PhD Studentship Award

This project is one of 13 four year PhD Studentships funded by Medical Research Scotland ( to be delivered jointly by the named University and Company. The Studentship will provide the first-class academic and commercial training needed to equip the successful candidate for a science career in an increasingly competitive market.

"A microfluidic approach to investigating vascular cell fate at the single-cell level" to be delivered by the University of Strathclyde [Supervisors: Dr Michele Zagnoni (Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering) and Dr Mairi Sandison (Department of Biomedical Engineering)] and AMS Biotechnology (Europe) Ltd ( [Company supervisor: Mr Alexander Sim].

Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death worldwide and stems from changes in blood vessel structure. As a result of cell accumulation and growth in the vessel’s inner layers, “plaques” form that narrow arteries and obstruct blood flow. However, uncertainties remain over the origin of the cells populating plaques, the behavioural changes they undergo during disease and the role of interactions between different cell types. This project will shed new light on the mechanisms causing abnormal proliferation of vascular cells and the cell sub-populations involved. Understanding this, and especially the variations existing at the single cell level, is critical to developing new treatments. Therefore, we will develop a new methodology to continuously track the functional changes that single cells from the vascular wall undergo in response to various stimuli and drug treatments. In collaboration with AMS Biotechnology (Europe) Ltd (AMSBIO), we will develop a novel system capable of continuous microscopy monitoring of single cells, whose chemical and physical interactions are regulated by microfluidic technology, enabling precise control over the local biochemical environment and drug screening assays. This project will provide new information on the proliferative capacity of vascular subpopulations, as well as a novel system for live-cell phenotypic screening.

During the course of this highly multidisciplinary PhD, the student will have the opportunity to develop skills in microfabrication and microfluidic technologies, in vitro cell culture techniques, a wide range of experimental approaches (including live-cell microscopy) and in commercial engagement via interactions with AMSBIO. The student will also have the opportunity to participate in and present their findings at international meetings.


Enquiries should be sent by email to Dr Michele Zagnoni:
[Email Address Removed]


Candidates must have obtained, or expect to obtain, a minimum 2.1 undergraduate degree, or equivalent for degrees obtained outside the UK, in a relevant discipline (electronic, mechanical or chemical engineering, pharmacology, biology or biotechnology related subjects) be strongly technology-oriented and have a problem-solving attitude.

Candidates should send a full Curriculum Vitae, the contact details of 2 academic references (including email addresses) and a covering letter, explaining why they wish to carry out this project and highlighting their suitability for the project, by email to Dr Michele Zagnoni:
[Email Address Removed]

Interviews are expected to take place approximately 2-4 weeks after the closing date for applications.

It is anticipated that the PhD Studentship will start in October 2018.

Funding Notes

PhD Studentship provides: an annual tax-free stipend of approximately £17,500; tuition fees at UK/EU rates only; consumables; and contribution to travel expenses.

International fees are not covered. International students applying for the Studentship must provide evidence by the date of interview that they are able to finance the fee top-up required to the international fee level.


Further information about the supervisors' research groups is available at

How good is research at University of Strathclyde in Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 74.30

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

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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