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MRC DiMeN Doctoral Training Partnership: H.pylori-Scope - A soft robotic bio-photonic spectroscopic tool for early diagnosis of gastric cancer via upper gastrointestinal endoscopy


   MRC DiMeN Doctoral Training Partnership

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  Dr Manish Chauhan, Prof Zion Tse  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

York United Kingdom Artificial Intelligence Biochemistry Bioengineering Biomedical Engineering Biophysics Cancer Biology Data Science Mathematical Modelling Microbiology Software Engineering

About the Project

Background: Gastric Cancer is the fifth most common malignancy in the world and third leading cause of death. It has claimed 865,000 lives worldwide in 2017, 12 lives/day in the UK (2016-2018). According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, 89% of all cases are attributed to infection from Helicobacter Pylori (Hp). Hp (a class 1 carcinogen) produces an enzyme called 'urease' which silences the immune system of the stomach against Hp and results in the formation of a gastric ulcer which grows into a cancerous tumour. Early diagnosis of Hp is important for understanding the pathology of gastric cancer and starting early therapy.

The choice of a diagnostic test depends on the sensitivity, specificity, reproducibility, availability of method, expert support and above all cost. Existing technique like Urea Breath Test, Stool antigen test, Rapid urease test suffer from ambiguous diagnosis and poor patient engagement, which lead to advanced stage diagnosis of cancer. Patients spend £500-£1400 for a standard 2-week triple-drug therapy. Such high cost in the low and middle-income country is a burden where 33 million individual faces catastrophic health expense and cancer take their toll at the cost of human life. The 5-year survival rate post-diagnosis of gastric cancer is only 20%, which is bigger than any financial loss. The aim of this project is to develop a robot assisted bio photonic medical device for early detection of gastric cancer.

Key areas of research include:

·        Degree in Mechanical, Electronic, Electrical, Biomedical Engineering, Physics, Computer Science, Biomedical science or related fields.

·        Exciting opportunity to explore interdisciplinary research of microbiology, cancer prognosis, biochemistry (material sciences), physics (Raman/FTIR spectroscopy) and bioengineering.

·        Investigation of clinical workflows and validation of developed robot-assisted medical device in collaboration with clinical partners.

We are interested in candidates with a strong background in one or more of the following areas:

·        Proficiency in Data Analysis (Python, MATLAB), programming (Micro-controller/processors), mechanical CAD design (SolidWorks, hands-on experience of 3D printing, laser cutting, 3D scanning).

·        Training provided: Research will include working with synthetic biochemical compound, cancerous tissues, mechanical and electronic circuit designs, prototyping and pre-clinical in-vitro testing of diagnostic medical devices (i) optical spectroscopy technique, (ii) soft robotic fabrication and control technique, (iii) integration of optical technique into soft robotic devices at research intensive industry collaborators, (iv) training courses in handling lasers and handling optical fibres, (v) material science, (vi) microbiology, (vii) biochemical substance handling.

Objective and proposed solution: The proposed project aims to performing early diagnosis with a single stop, easily accessible, portable, unambiguous, and instantaneous screening device, which results in increased patient engagement with no waiting for medical reports and quick medication.

Impact: Novel Collaboration for synergizing interdisciplinary research (soft robotics, Raman/IR spectroscopy, organic chemistry, microbiology, clinical science, imaging) for early diagnosis of gastric cancer.]

Benefits of being in the DiMeN DTP:

This project is part of the Discovery Medicine North Doctoral Training Partnership (DiMeN DTP), a diverse community of PhD students across the North of England researching the major health problems facing the world today. Our partner institutions (Universities of Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle, York and Sheffield) are internationally recognised as centres of research excellence and can offer you access to state-of the-art facilities to deliver high impact research.

We are very proud of our student-centred ethos and committed to supporting you throughout your PhD. As part of the DTP, we offer bespoke training in key skills sought after in early career researchers, as well as opportunities to broaden your career horizons in a range of non-academic sectors.

Being funded by the MRC means you can access additional funding for research placements, international training opportunities or internships in science policy, science communication and beyond. See how our current DiMeN students have benefited from this funding here: http://www.dimen.org.uk/overview/student-profiles/flexible-supplement-awards

Further information on the programme and how to apply can be found on our website:

http://www.dimen.org.uk/how-to-apply/application-overview


Funding Notes

Studentships are fully funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) for 4yrs. Funding will cover UK tuition fees, stipend and project costs as standard. We also aim to support the most outstanding applicants from outside the UK and are able to offer a limited number of bursaries that will enable full studentships to be awarded to international applicants. These full studentships will be awarded to exceptional candidates only, due to the competitive nature of this scheme. Please read additional guidance here: http://www.dimen.org.uk/how-to-apply/eligibility-funding
Studentships commence: 1st October 2022
Good luck!

References

PI: https://www.york.ac.uk/electronic-engineering/staff/manish-chauhan/
Co-PI: https://www.york.ac.uk/electronic-engineering/staff/zion_tse/
Research Lab: https://www.mrlabuk.com/
Project link: https://www.mrlabuk.com/softrobotics
Twitter link: https://twitter.com/UoY_MR]
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