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PhD Studentship Opportunity: Synthesis and characterisation of mesoporous phosphate-based glasses for biomedical applications


   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 UKRI/EPSRC funded PhD studentship at the University of Surrey in collaboration with the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) on the synthesis and characterisation of a new class of mesoporous bioresorbable biomaterials. 

The project will explore novel template strategies based on the sol-gel and coacervation processes for the synthesis of mesoporous phosphate-based glasses (MPG) with exceptionally high surface areas, tunable pore size and distribution. In particular, the proposal aims to synthetize sol-gel MPG with two dimensional (2D, hexagonal) channels of pores and three dimensional (3D, cubic) arrangements of interconnected pores in solution by using supramolecular chemistry. Compared to the current state of bioresorbable materials, an ordered arrangement of mesopores will facilitate the absorption and delivery of therapeutic molecules. Highly mesoporous materials are therefore excellent candidates for biomedical applications, in particular for targeted delivery of therapeutic molecules/ions into the damaged site and simultaneous tissue regeneration (hard and soft). MPG will be embedded with antibacterial metallic ions (e.g. Ag+, Cu2+, Zn2+); ion release and antibacterial activities will be investigated and correlated with the porous structure.

Structural and morphological characterization of the mesoporous nanocomposites will be investigated using a multi-technique approach involving surface/pore size and volume analysis via physisorption, thermal analysis, transmission and scanning electron microscopy (TEM/SEM), X-ray diffraction, and X-ray absorption diffraction/spectroscopy at synchrotron radiation facilities.

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 (sol-gel, supramolecular templating, coacervation), antibacterial testing and cutting-edge characterisation techniques in addition to unique training and expertise in 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 (), Dr S Marchesini (), 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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