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PhD in Engineering: Fundamental interactions of cells with electromagnetic fields

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, June 26, 2020
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Underpinning the function of any biosensor is the fundamental interaction that leads to the reporter signal of the sensor. Within this IDTH, we are already using microwaves for the rapid release of target DNA from cells, and study the fundamental interactions of microwaves with living cells. Here, we will introduce electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy as an analytical tool to help us understand the mechanisms of these processes, via the excited species that they generate. We are in the unique position to be able to design and adapt EPR sensor heads to allow the simultaneous excitation and analysis of a variety of cells, including bacteria associated with common human diseases (e.g. TB). Uncovering these underlying mechanisms will allow further optimization of our biosensor in terms of sample preparation and detection.

As the project is embedded in an IDTH, you will be expected to work closely with the other PhD students in your cohort who will be based in the School of Chemistry and in the School of Pharmacy. Further collaboration will be with researchers from a variety of different disciplines, public health bodies and industry.

The project will involve:
• Designing and implementing a protocol for simultaneous microwave excitation of biological cells and EPR detection
• Identifying any excited species released by cells in response to microwave exposure, alluding to the mechanism at play
• Investigating the effects of microwaves on bacterial cell wall/ membranes to reveal the mechanism underpinning DNA release


Dr Catrin Williams

Prof. Adrian Porch

Dr Emma Richards

Application deadline - Friday 26th June.

We will not be contacting applicants until after the deadline

Possible interview dates: to be held at the start of July.

For the interview applicants are asked to prepare a short (10 minutes maximum) oral presentation on their research interests or a recent/current research project. Use of Powerpoint is encouraged.

Given current Government advice, we plan to conduct interviews remotely.

Start date 1st October 2020.

Academic criteria

A BSc 2.1 or Masters level qualification in a relevant subject area is required.

If you wish to have an informal chat with any of the supervisors about their possible research project please feel free to contact them directly.

To apply please follow the link and apply for an Engineering PhD via the University website:

Applicants should select Doctor of Philosophy (Engineering), with a start date of October 2020.

In the research proposal section of your application, please specify the project title and supervisors of this project and copy the project description in the text box provided. In the funding section, please select "I will be applying for a scholarship / grant" and specify that you are applying for advertised funding.

Please include in your application a full CV and a short supporting statement (maximum one side of A4) as to why you are the best applicant for your research area.

Full and part time study options are available.

Funding Notes

This studentship includes Home/EU fee and stipend. The stipend and fees are at the UKRI rate (for 2020/21 is £15,285; £4,407 respectively).

Eligibility criteria

The studentship is open to:

•UK students

•EU students who have been resident in the UK for three years at the course start date

For more information on eligibility - View Website

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