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Rapid paper sensors for testing of SARS-CoV-2 in sewage: early warning of pandemic MRes


School of Water, Energy and Environment (SWEE)

About the Project

We are offering a fully funded Masters by research studentship covering tuition fees, competitive stipend, research and consumables, and travel for international conference. This exciting industry funded opportunity aims to use our state-of-art paper-based sensors for rapid testing of SARS-CoV-2 in sewage for early warning of infectious disease. We hope the position can be filled as soon as possible.

The candidate will be working with a highly interdisciplinary and international team to develop the advanced paper sensors technology for rapid monitoring of SARS-CoV-2 in sewage, in partnership with a UK COVID-19 national sewage monitoring program (N-WESP, NE/V010441/1). The candidate are welcome to apply with a background or an interest in biosensors, molecular biology, microbiology and engineering background.

The paper based sensors has been proposed to test sewage to identify the virus carrier. The technology has been built upon our lab track record from UK NERC Fellowship grant (NE/R013349/1 ) and recent Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng) Frontier Follow-on scheme (FF\1920\1\36) after a seed funding from RAEng (FoDSF\1819\1\8).

We aim to have a candidate who has a background with molecular method such as rt-PCR and LAMP experience, nucleic acid extraction and sewage handling, preferable with a background of microbiology or virology.

The project aims to implement and deploy low-cost, point-of-use paper-based biosensors for rapid monitoring of SARS-CoV-2 in sewage.

We have recently established a brand-new sensors laboratory, and this dedicated laboratory is the centre of the world-class research into sensors and their uses in water and the water industry being conducted at Cranfield. With an impressive legacy in biosensors, Cranfield’s UKCRIC sensors lab continues the University’s work in this area by providing state-of-the-art facilities for chemical, biological and microbial sensors’ design, elaboration, characterisation and application. The advanced sensors group ( PI: Zhugen Yang, NERC Fellow and Lecturer in Sensor technology) aims to explore fundamental science and advanced sensors technology to address the water-environment-health nexus.

We also recently shows a significant potential of our paper-based sensors for the detection of COVID-19 in sewage for early warning of infectious disease in the community, and this has been featured in Science and wide public media coverages (such as BBC, Daily Mail, Yahoo etc.) We have demonstrated in India and Uganda a DNA-based paper-origami device which exploits hot wax printing to integrate sample preparation and microfluidic flows for pathogens detection. These low-cost assays are both sensitive and specific for pathogen detection in water and wastewater.

We aim to further improve the performance of our device and deploy it for the treatment plant, which will enable rapid and on-site monitoring of SARS-CoV-2 for early warning of pandemic

The student will be widely engaging with a multidisciplinary team to learn advanced paper sensor technology and interact with stakeholders to disseminate the research output, as well as interacting with the national consortium who has expertise in sewage analysis. The funding supports travel throughout the project to meet with the collaborators, along with opportunities to attend and present results at international conferences (e.g. Biosensors World Congress). Cranfield University are leading a UK water and wastewater network, as well as involved water sensors network, involving academic, industrial and public sector organisations; It is expected that the researcher student will become involved in this network, enabling the researcher to develop their profile in the sector and engage with experts in related areas.

This Master by research opportunity provides the researcher with exposure to working in a large multi-national and multi-disciplinary project as part of a wider team with consortium in sewage analysis. The area of research is a rapidly growing area of national importance and the candidate will have opportunity to engage with both world-class academic and industry; therefore, it is anticipated that this candidate would allow the successful candidate to pursue an exciting career upon completion.

Entry requirements

Applicants should have a first or second class UK honours degree or equivalent in a related discipline. This project would suit students with a background biosensors, water science, molecular biology, microbiology and engineering.

How to apply

For further information: Zhugen Yang

Email:

T: +44(0) 1234 758 310

If you are eligible, please complete the online application form. Ref No. SWEE0125

Start date: ASAP

At Cranfield, we value Diversity and Inclusion


Funding Notes

Sponsored by water industry, this studentship will provide a bursary of up to £18,000 * (tax free) plus tuition fees one years, and national and international travel for conferences.

*To be eligible for this funding, applicants can be either a UK or oversea national citizenship.

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