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PhD Studentship (3 years) Optimisation of scaffolds for the bioprocessing of lab-grown meat

   College of Engineering and Physical Sciences

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  Dr Eirini Theodosiou  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Applications are invited for a three-year Postgraduate studentship, supported by the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, to be undertaken within the Engineering for Health Research Group at Aston University. The successful applicant will join an established multidisciplinary group working on bioprocess development of cultivated meat products.

The position is available to start in October 2023, subject to negotiation.

Background to the Project

From goldfish meat designed to feed astronauts in space, to chicken nuggets served in Singapore, cultivated (or lab-grown) meats have come a long way since their inception two decades ago. Industry, academia and legislative bodies are working together to bring these new products to the global market and alleviate the harmful effects caused by intensive farming and the livestock industry on public health, the environment and animal welfare. The lab-grown meat concept involves taking stem cells from the animal and growing them in a bioreactor using scaffolds that will provide the 3D environment for their expansion and differentiation into fat and muscle. However, a lot of work still needs to be done to make it an affordable and sustainable option and ultimately achieve consumers’ approval.

Building upon current state of the art research at Aston University, this project aims to create edible microcarriers that will replicate the natural surroundings of cells, by providing them with the necessary mechanical, biochemical and biological cues for tissue development. This will be achieved by:

  • Combining novel manufacturing techniques and edible materials to identify the best candidates for the scalable and cost-effective production of microcarriers.
  • Evaluating the microcarrier performance in stirred tank bioreactors in relation to flow characteristics and mixing patterns.
  • Investigating the ability of the microcarriers to promote cell attachment and proliferation, and benchmarking them against other microcarriers (commercial and/or under development).

Person Specification

The successful applicant should have been awarded, or expect to achieve, a Bachelors or Masters degree in a relevant subject with a 60% or higher weighted average, and/or a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree (or an equivalent qualification from an overseas institution) in science, such as Materials, Stem cell biology, Biomedical science, or engineering, such as Bio/Chemical engineering. Preferred skill requirements include ability to plan and undertake laboratory work.

We would particularly like to encourage applications from women seeking to progress their academic careers. Aston University is committed to the principles of the Athena SWAN Charter, recognised recently by a prestigious Gold Award to EPS, and we pride ourselves on our vibrant, friendly and supportive working environment and family atmosphere.

Contact information

For formal enquiries about this project contact [Email Address Removed].

Submitting an application

As part of the application, you will need to supply:

  • A copy of your current CV
  • Copies of your academic qualifications for your Bachelor degree, and/or Masters degree; this should include both certificates and transcripts, and must be translated in to English
  • A research proposal statement*
  • A personal statement
  • Two academic references
  • Proof of your English Language proficiency

Details of how to submit your application, and the necessary supporting documents can be found here.

Please select Research – Chemical Engineering (Full Time October 2023) from the application form options.

*The application must be accompanied by a “research proposal” statement. An original proposal is not required as the initial scope of the project has been defined, candidates should take this opportunity to detail how their knowledge and experience will benefit the project and should also be accompanied by a brief review of relevant research literature.

Please include the supervisor’s name, project title, and project reference in your Personal Statement.

If you require further information about the application process, please contact the Postgraduate Admissions team at [Email Address Removed]

Funding Notes

College of Engineering and Physical Sciences studentships include a maintenance allowance (£17,668 full time equivalent in 2022/23) and Home or Overseas tuition feed for 3 years.
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