Infections associated with bacterial colonisation around implants and scaffolds is a significant clinical problem both in orthopaedics and regenerative dentistry. Systemic drug administration is the common practice to accelerate healing process and to prevent post-operative infections. However, this approach requires periodic intake of high dose drugs because of low bioavailability while, in long term can cause the development of antibiotic resistance. Local drug delivery is a promising alternative and can be achieved by drug eluting scaffolds and implants. The main objective of this PhD program is the development of new generation “smart” scaffolds which can “understand” the changes of micro-environment (i.e. pH) in vivo and respond to these by releasing antibiotics and/or appropriate nanoparticles in order to prevent the formation of bacterial biofilm around the implant. The evaluation of the new materials (e.g. nanoparticles/drug release profiles, response time to changes of micro-environment) will take place in a micro-fluidic based system where the micro-environment around the implant can be simulated and real time measurements can take place. The successful candidate will receive training and will gain knowledge in the fields of materials science (nanoparticles, drugs, biomaterials), tissue engineering and microfluidics aiming to emerge as a well-rounded scientist, capable to work across disciplines. She/he will have also the opportunity and will get the support to develop valuable soft skills as problem solving, time management, creative way of thinking, communication (e.g. presentation skills and technical report writing) which will contribute to the further career progression. The Department of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science is a world leader in industrially relevant research and teaching in chemical engineering and related subjects. We undertake leading-edge, multidisciplinary and creative research on a wide range of topics and we provide a world of possibilities for students pursuing skills and understanding.
Applicants should have or expect to achieve at least a 2.1 honours degree in engineering, materials science or other appropriate qualification.