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Synthetic electrochemical receptors (sensors) for non-communicable diseases

Department of Chemistry

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Prof Tony James , Prof Steven Bull , Prof Frank Marken No more applications being accepted Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

The University of Bath is inviting applications for a funded PhD studentship* in the Department of Chemistry under the supervision of Prof Tony James The student must be available to start prior to the end of March 2021.

* Residency criteria apply - see Funding Notes below.

This PhD project requires a motivated student interested in being involved in developing clinically relevant point-of-care (PoC) systems in collaboration with RD GroupCo ( We are working to develop sensors that will be used monitor, control and help treat diseases including cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). For this project we are looking for a candidate with good synthetic skills who is interested in taking those skills forward to help develop practically useful sensor devices.

The project will require the preparation of receptors (synthetic chemistry), their evaluation (analytical electrochemistry) and the construction of sensor devices (materials chemistry). The approach taken will be modular in nature and require functionalisation of an electrode with “clickable” units. The initial aim is to prepare a suite of different sensors that will be evaluated electrochemically. Then, once appropriate model systems have been established, bespoke “graphene” electrodes will be used to facilitate the construction of devices suitable for the detection of non-communicable diseases (NCD). The ultimate goal of this project is to develop a PoC device suitable for the simple and rapid diagnosis/monitoring of NCD diseases including cancer, diabetes and AD, which will result in superior treatments, improved prognosis and significantly enhance the quality of life for millions of people.

The project aligns well with the University of Bath, strategic themes in advanced materials and devices and Healthy Living since the project will result in composite material-based sensors for the detection of analytes of biological and clinical significance.

Candidate requirements:

Applicants should hold, or expect to receive, a First Class or good Upper Second Class Honours degree (or the equivalent). A master’s level qualification would also be advantageous. The successful candidate will have a background in synthetic organic chemistry with an interest in developing an understanding of electrochemistry.

Enquiries and applications:

Informal enquiries are welcomed and should be directed to Prof Tony James, [Email Address Removed].

Formal applications should be made via the University of Bath’s online application form for a PhD in Chemistry:

More information about applying for a PhD at Bath may be found here:

Note: We are looking for a candidate to start as soon as possible and therefore applications may close early if a suitable candidate is found. We recommend early application.

Funding Notes

A studentship is available to UK and EU citizens who have been resident in the UK for at least 3 full years prior to the start of the PhD. Funding will be provided by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC DTP) and RD-GroupCo and will cover tuition fees at the 'Home' level and a doctoral stipend at the standard UKRI rate (£15,285 p.a in 2020/21) for a period of up to 3.5 years.

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