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Microfluidics for Synchrotron to unlock structural changes in biomolecules

Centre for Doctoral Training in Fluid Dynamics

Prof N Kapur Wednesday, April 07, 2021 Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Fluid Dynamics is now recruiting to this fantastic PhD opportunity in partnership with Diamond, the UK's national synchrotron science facility.

As a student on the CDT you will participate in a four year programme that combines an integrated MSc (completed over the first two years) paired with a three year PhD-level research programme. This gives you a combination of bespoke taught modules and inter-disciplinary research training.

You will be part of a supportive cohort of research students with different academic backgrounds, all focusing on different aspects of Fluid Dynamics. During the taught aspects of your course you will receive a range of tailored seminars, lectures and practical laboratories to cover the computational, experimental and analytical aspects of Fluid Dynamics. This provides you with a strong background to the fundamentals of Fluid Dynamics. In addition you will have access to a wide range of personal development activities. Further information on the CDT is available here:

The PhD project: Microfluidics for Synchrotron to unlock structural changes in biomolecules

This is a unique opportunity to work closely with Diamond, the UK's national synchrotron science facility, to develop microfluidic tools for use on high energy beams used to probe material characteristics. A carefully designed programme of work will see the successful applicant developing ‘fluidic environments’ where the material of interest is contained within a fluid and some sort of controlled disturbance can be applied, which causes a material response. A real-world example we will use here are biomolecules that respond to the pH of the external environment. pH is a biologically relevant trigger as there are pH gradients throughout the body (e.g. around cancer tumours) that could be used to release a drug. A more detailed understanding of the changes to the nanoparticles ultimately support rational design of these carriers.

Fluid mechanics is central to this project. The use of computational fluid dynamic simulations coupled with practical design of fluid chips (which can be manufactured in-house) means the fluidic environments are well characterised and the history of the conditions that the fluid sees can be tracked.

After the 2nd year (with year 1 being the MSc in Fluid Mechanics and year 2 being the first PhD research year), the successful candidate will spend blocks of time between Leeds and Diamond in Oxfordshire. This will ensure you gain a deep understanding of the large facility scientific environment. There you will be supervised by Prof. Nick Terrill and there is a rich environment of PhD students on similar programmes at Diamond.

The project supervisors at Leeds are Professor Nikil Kapur from the School of Mechanical Engineering and Dr Arwen Tyler who brings expertise around the biomolecules.

How to apply: Complete online application form naming the PhD project on the form:

Application deadline: 7th April 2021, but applications will be considered when they are received. Funding: Full standard studentship. Further details and eligibility:

Entry requirements: A degree equivalent to a UK first class honours, or a high upper second class, in an engineering, mathematics or science discipline. Queries: Please contact us on  or +44 (0)113 343 5449

Funding Notes

There are a number of highly competitive EPSRC Fully Funded Studentship Awards for Session 2021/22 covering the full cost of University of Leeds Fees plus Maintenance. Applications are open to both Home and International fee rated applicants, however the number of awards open for International applicants is limited by UKRI. Some additional places are also available for students who have their own funding.

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