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New calcium phosphate bone cements for potential biomaterial applications; bone repair and/or scaffold fabrication

Department of Chemistry

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Prof I Gibson , Prof J M S Skakle Applications accepted all year round Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Calcium phosphates bone cements are widely used for bone-replacement materials due to their chemical similarity to natural bone but also their ability to set and harden in situ and their ability to be injected as a paste. The impetus for such research is the ageing and more active population – the need to keep quality of life and activity, and to provide materials with longer endurance within the body.

In our biomaterials group the focus is on the synthesis and characterisation of various bioceramics, particularly in the targeted doping of the parent calcium phosphates with the aim of improving the properties, such as solubility, cell interaction, handling, and mechanical properties. Our research extends from basic science and fundamental materials chemistry through to biological testing and commercial application of such materials. The proposed project will be interdisciplinary in nature, allowing the candidate to develop their research skills within this very applied research area.

The focus of the project, therefore, is to synthesise and control the doping of different elements into parent calcium phosphates that will be one or more of the reactant phases of the cement formulations. These will be used in developing new calcium phosphate bone cement formulations. These materials have potential application in fabricating 3D scaffolds for bone tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, or as medical devices. The materials developed will be characterise using X-ray diffraction, Raman and IR spectroscopy, solid state NMR, electron microscopy, surface area and porosity quantification, solubility testing and mechanical testing.

Whilst some chemical knowledge is highly desirable, knowledge of the solid state and a willingness to learn and engage in interdisciplinary research is essential for such work, where chemistry, materials science, physics, engineering, biology and medicine meet.

Candidates should have (or expect to achieve) a UK honours degree at 2.1 or above (or equivalent) in Materials Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, Materials Engineering, Biomedical Engineering.

It is essential that the successful applicant has a background in Solid state chemistry and/or materials chemistry and/or inorganic chemistry and/or materials science along with knowledge of Solid state chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, Materials Engineering, Biomedical Engineering..


• Apply for Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry
• State name of the lead supervisor as the Name of Proposed Supervisor
• State ‘Self-funded’ as Intended Source of Funding
• State the exact project title on the application form

When applying please ensure all required documents are attached:

• All degree certificates and transcripts (Undergraduate AND Postgraduate MSc-officially translated into English where necessary)
• Detailed CV
• Details of 2 academic referees

Informal inquiries can be made to Professor I R Gibson ([Email Address Removed]) with a copy of your curriculum vitae and cover letter. All general enquiries should be directed to the Postgraduate Research School ([Email Address Removed])

Funding Notes

This project is advertised in relation to the research areas of the discipline of Chemistry. The successful applicant will be expected to provide the funding for Tuition fees, living expenses and maintenance. Details of the cost of study can be found by visiting View Website. THERE IS NO FUNDING ATTACHED TO THESE PROJECTS. Applicants should also be aware that Additional Research Costs of £5,250 per annum are required (above Tuition Fees and Living Expenses) for consumables.


J. Duncan, J. F. MacDonald, J. V. Hanna, Y. Shirosaki, S. Hakakawa, A. Osaka, J. M. S. Skakle, Iain R. Gibson; “The Role of the Chemical Composition of Monetite on the Synthesis and Properties of -tricalcium phosphate”, Materials Science and Engineering C34, 123-129 (2014).

J. Duncan, S. Hayakawa, A. Osaka, J.F. MacDonald, J.V. Hanna, J.M.S. Skakle and I.R. Gibson; “Silicate-substituted α-Tricalcium Phosphate: an X-ray Diffraction, X-ray Fluorescence and Solid-State Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Study”, Acta Biomaterialia 10, 1443-1450 (2014)

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