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PhD Studentship Opportunity: Effect of mechanical properties and surface nanostructure on phosphate-based glasses biomedical performance


   Department of Chemistry

   Friday, November 25, 2022  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Applications are invited to apply for a 4-year joint UKRI/EPSRC funded PhD studentship between the University of Surrey and the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) on the synthesis, characterisation and mechanical testing of a new class of bioresorbable biomaterials. The project will focus on smart phosphate-based glasses that can simultaneously induce tissue regeneration (hard and soft) and deliver antimicrobial effects via controlled release of metallic ions (e.g. Ag+, Cu2+, Zn2+, Ga3+, Ce4+). The slow release of antibacterial ions as the tissue heals prevents inflammatory reactions and reduce patient’s recovery time.

The sol-gel and coacervation techniques will be used for fabrication of phosphate glass fibre mats for wound healing and 3D scaffolds via 3D printing for bone regeneration. Structural and morphological characterisation of the glasses will be investigated using a multi-technique approach involving electron microscopy (SEM and TEM), thermal analysis, physisorption, X-ray diffraction, and X-ray absorption spectroscopy at synchrotron radiation facilities.

The mechanical properties of the biomaterials and their changes and degradation (in time/with the environment) will be established; their effect on cells-biomaterial interaction, biomaterial degradability, antibacterial effect will be investigated. In particular, dynamic (in-situ) mechanical testing will allow the response of the biomaterial under different conditions (e.g. change in temperature, extracellular matrix environment, time) to be assessed.

Spanning across materials science, chemistry, biology and medicine, this proposal is truly multidisciplinary. The PhD candidate will develop a range of complementary skills in fabrication (electrospinning, 3D printing), cell culture and cutting-edge characterisation techniques in addition to unique training and expertise in mechanical testing and measurements at the micro and nanoscale at NPL. The successful applicant will have access to the professional training courses and support offered by NPL’s Postgraduate Institute for Measurement Science (PGI) and Surrey’s Doctoral College.

Supervisors: Dr Daniela Carta (), Mr Tony Fry ().

This project is open to UK nationals or those with EU settled status starting in January 2023, but an earlier start is possible.

About NPL

NPL is the UK's National Metrology Institute, developing and maintaining the national primary measurement standards. The successful candidate will have access to a suite of microstructural characterisation tools and mechanical test systems capable of measurement and characterisation across different length scales. They will also have access to training in metrology and access to facilities and expertise housed at the main Teddington site.  

Entry requirements

PhD candidates must have a first class or 2:1 degree (or equivalent) in a relevant scientific discipline, including Biomaterial Science, Chemistry, Physics, Chemical Engineering and Material Science and a strong interest in bio/nanomaterials.

For applicants whose first language is not English: a copy of a valid IELTS certificate (minimum 6.5 overall with 6.0 in Writing, or equivalent) or equivalent English language qualification.

How to apply

Applications should be submitted via the Chemistry PhD programme page on the "Apply" tab.

Please state clearly the studentship project that you would like to apply for and the name of your intended supervisor.


Funding Notes

Stipend £18,609, increase pending. Home fees covered. Funded by UKRI / ESPRC.

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