About the Project
One of the key questions in cancer research is what drives cells to switch from a normal healthy state to a cancerous one, in which they continually divide and reproduce. Understanding this process can be key to both early diagnosis and cancer prevention. Microfluidics has opened up a new routes to studying these processes at work. We have demonstrated how applying surface acoustic waves to microfluids can isolate and restrain individual cells. This, in combination with techniques, such Raman spectroscopy, open powerful ways to analyse cells at the single cell level. This PhD will bring combine these biophysical techniques to the study of oesophageal cancer. You will use develop surface acoustic wave (or alternative) approaches to trap individual cells, before allowing them to be exposed to fluctuating acid and bile salt concentrations which mimic the different chemical “stresses” at work in human digestion. Raman spectroscopy coupled with machine learning /AI strategies, and more conventional biochemical assays, will then be applied to study the process of cells changing from healthy to cancerous to give us a clearer understanding of exactly what is going on. We are looking for someone who wants to work at the interface of physics and biology, gaining first-hand experience of the kind of interdisciplinary research for which Leeds is renowned, and passionate about making a difference, whilst tackling a major research questions. Working closely with colleagues in Biology and Engineering you will develop a broad range of skills including: Surface Acoustic Wave Manipulation on Matter, Raman Spectroscopy and Cancer Biology.
Funding is available from the Alumni Scholarship for 3.5 years to cover academic fees (£4,500 for 2019/20), maintenance (£15,009 for 2019/20) and consumables.