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Point-of-care systems for rapid urinary tract infection diagnosis using microfluidics

   Department of Biomedical Engineering

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  Dr Melanie Jimenez  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

This project is one of 15 four year PhD Studentships funded by Medical Research Scotland (MRS) ( to be delivered jointly by the named University and External Partner Organisation (EPO). The Studentship will provide first-class academic, and additional training provided by the EPO, needed to equip the successful candidate for a science career in an increasingly competitive market.

"Microsystem engineering for rapid antimicrobial susceptibility testing in urinary tract infections" to be delivered by the University of Strathclyde [Supervisors: Dr Melanie Jimenez (Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Strathclyde) and Profesor Damion Corrigan (Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry, University of Strathclyde)] and Microplate Dx Ltd ( [External Partner Organisation supervisor: Dr Stuart Hannah].

This PhD project focuses on creating innovations to make the detection of bacterial infections more rapid and affordable at the point-of-care.

Bacterial infections are becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics. Without action it is predicted that by 2050 there will be approximately 10 million deaths each year from resistant infections. There are a number of ways we can increase the lifetime of antibiotic drugs and reduce the burden of antibiotic resistant infection; improving diagnostic testing is one of them.

By choosing the correct antibiotic with which to treat an infection we can avoid development of drug resistant infections and lengthen the lifetimes of antibiotics. Antibiotic susceptibility testing (AST) is currently the most commonly employed approach to determining which antibiotic to treat a patient with but it is labour and time intensive, and can take 12-72 hours to provide information on which antibiotic to use.

Microplate Dx have developed a patented technology than cuts the time to result for an antibiotic susceptibility test from days to minutes/hours, by using gel-modified macro electrodes that rapidly detect bacterial growth. Importantly however, pathogen concentration in clinical samples can be as low as few bacteria per millilitre, making detection challenging.

In collaboration with Microplate Dx, the successful candidate will join the department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Strathclyde in an exciting interdisciplinary environment with expertise in microfluidics, electrochemical sensing and medical diagnostics to make a change in the field of AST.

More specifically the project will focus on:

- Engineering microfluidic devices for capturing/enriching bacteria in clinical samples (e.g. urine)

- Developing high sensitivity micro and nano electrodes for measuring bacterial growth at low concentration

- Translating the technologies to actual clinical samples in collaboration with clinicians.

This project is a unique opportunity to work at the interface of engineering, chemistry and medical sciences with strong clinical and industrial links, and we are excited to have a new member soon joining the team! 


Enquiries should be sent by email to: Dr Melanie Jimenez:

[Email Address Removed]


Applicants must have obtained, or expect to obtain, a first or 2.1 UK honours degree, or equivalent for degrees obtained outside the UK, in an Engineering discipline, Materials Science, Physical Sciences, Medical Sciences, Biotechnology or in a related subject. Prior experience in microfluidics, bacteriology, electrochemistry or diagnostic testing can be beneficial but not essential.

Applications are welcome from UK nationals, EU nationals that hold UK settled or pre-settled status and international students, but international students will be required to fund the difference between the Home/UK fee rate and international fee rate.

Applicants should send a covering letter explaining why they would be suited to this PhD project, a full Curriculum Vitae and the names and contact details (including email addresses) of at least two academic referees by email to Dr Melanie Jimenez:

[Email Address Removed]

Please note, your application may be shared with the funders of this PhD Studentship, Medical Research Scotland and Microplate Dx Ltd.

Interviews are expected to take place 3-4 weeks after the closing date for applications.

It is anticipated that the PhD Studentship will start 2 October 2023.

Funding Notes

PhD Studentship provides: an annual tax-free stipend of £19,000, increasing to £19,500 over the four years; tuition fees at home rates only; consumables; and generous travel allowance. International fees are not covered. International students applying for the Studentship must provide evidence by the date of interview that they are able to finance the fee top-up required to the international fee level.


For more information on the academic supervisors:
For more information on Microplate Dx technology:
Hannah, S., Dobrea, A., Lasserre, P., Blair, E. O., Alcorn, D., Hoskisson, P. A., & Corrigan, D. K. (2020). Development of a rapid, antimicrobial susceptibility test for E. coli based on low-cost, screen-printed electrodes. Biosensors, 10(11), [153].
Hannah, S., Addington, E., Alcorn, D., Shu, W., Hoskisson, P. A., & Corrigan, D. K. (2019). Rapid antibiotic susceptibility testing using low-cost, commercially available screen-printed electrodes. Biosensors and Bioelectronics, 145, [111696].
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