About the Project
Applications are invited for a PhD studentship within the Shaver group to develop swellable polymers as biomedical sensors. This studentship will use synthetic organic and polymer chemistry to develop novel hydrogels to act as biomedical sensors. The aim of this project is to produce an easy-to- use, sensitive device that can be used to assist with early diagnosis and monitoring the progression of disease, with cancer diagnostics as an early target. The device will be based around special modified polymers that respond to the presence of biological molecules like microRNAs that are in the blood. Existing data shows that these microRNAs are linked to diseases, with profiles of specific miRNAs linked to disease and disease progression. Currently measurement of microRNAs is largely confined to specialist research laboratories. The provision of the system envisaged in this project would enable widespread and routine testing of these important molecules in the community, leading to earlier diagnosis and improved monitoring, resulting in earlier and more targeted treatment which in turn will lead to delayed progression of the disease, with benefits for the patients, their families and carers and society in general. Funding for this project is jointly provided by our industry partner Axis-Shield Diagnostics and the School of Chemistry at the University of Edinburgh.
The Shaver group likes to work hard and to play hard. We are enthusiastic about science, catalysts and polymers and work in diverse fields ranging from medical diagnostics to biodegradable thermoplastics to new polymers for camera lenses to catalysts for ring opening and atom transfer radical polymerisations. We enjoy learning from each other and building collaborative networks to advance science at the interface between synthetic inorganic, organic and polymer chemistry with engineering. For more information about the group see greenmaterialslaboratory.wordpress.com.
One fully-funded (UK tuition fees & EPSRC stipend) 36-month PhD studentship is available to start on 1 September 2015. The candidate must satisfy EPSRC studentship eligibility requirements, having settled status in the UK and having been ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of the studentship. The EPSRC stipend rate for 2014/15 was £13,863 per annum.
Please send your CV along with the names of two referees to Dr Michael Shaver ([Email Address Removed]).