The cornea is the main refractive element of the eye, its shape, governed by its biomechanical properties is responsible for the clarity of our vision. Currently there is a high demand for technologies capable of the assessment of corneal biomechanics. This is driven by the popularity of invasive corneal surgeries including laser eye surgery (most common elective surgery worldwide) and cataract surgery (most common surgery worldwide). In addition to the relatively recent availability of corneal crosslinking – a minimally invasive procedure capable of directly manipulating the biomechanics of the cornea through the application of photosensitiser and UV-light.
Applications are invited for a PhD student to work on the development and application of imaging technologies to measure corneal biomechanics and quantify and model the effects of interventions such as refractive surgery, corneal crosslinking and novel treatments for keratoconus. The goal of this research is to enable earlier and more specific diagnosis of diseases such as keratoconus and to develop new, safer, patient-customised procedures for treatment of disease and to address vision correction in the general population.
The candidate will join UCL, a world-leading institution in medical imaging, with access to the Institute of Ophthalmology and Moorfields Eye Hospital. As a group we have an established network with world-leading refractive surgeons and the leading companies in ophthalmic device development. We have active collaborations with research groups both in the UK and internationally.
The candidate will be expected to:
- Design, develop and modify optical imaging systems.
- Plan and conduct experiments, both individually and in collaboration with clinical experts and ophthalmic surgeons.
- Acquire imaging data on both excised and living ocular tissue.
- Process and analyse complex imaging data.
- Generate computational models to model and understand disease processes and the effects of therapies including refractive surgery, corneal crosslinking and corneal implant insertion.
This work will contribute to a better understanding of corneal disease and refractive error and the development of tools and procedures for improved diagnosis and treatment of these conditions. Good communication skills are necessary as the candidate will be working in a multidisciplinary team including engineers, biologists, clinicians and industrial leaders in the development of ophthalmic devices.
The project is highly multidisciplinary and applicants from a range of backgrounds are encouraged to apply. Candidates should hold an undergraduate degree (equivalent to UK 2:1 or higher) in either Engineering, Biological or Physical Sciences or computer science.
Experience in optical imaging, programming (MATLAB, Python), image analysis and processing, computational modelling and/or experience working with biological tissue is desirable.
The studentship is available to UK students. Overseas applicants will also be considered.
How to apply
Eligible applicants should first contact Dr Abby Wilson ([Email Address Removed]). Please enclose the following documents:
- A one-page statement outlining suitability for the project
- A two pages CV (including contact details of two referees)
After discussing the project with Dr Wilson, eligible applicants should also submit a formal PhD application via the UCL website.
The supervisory team will arrange interviews for short-listed candidates.