University of Exeter funding: Developing and testing novel Raman

Developing and testing novel Raman Nanotheranostic instrumentation for the detection and treatment of cancer, Physics – PhD (Funded) Ref: 3925

About the award

Supervisors

Academic Supervisors

Professor Nick Stone, College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, University of Exeter

Professor Francesca Palombo, College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, University of Exeter

Professor Pavel Matousek, Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), Rutherford Appleton Labs

The University of Exeter’s College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, is inviting applications for a fully-funded PhD studentship to commence in September 2020 or as soon as possible thereafter.  For eligible students the studentship will cover UK/EU tuition fees plus an annual tax-free stipend of at least £15,285 for 3.5 years full-time, or pro rata for part-time study.  The student would be based in Physics in the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences at the Streatham Campus Exeter.

Location: Department of Physics, Streatham Campus,  Exeter

Project Description

We seek a talented physical scientist/engineer (PhD student) to join our multidisciplinary team in Biospectroscopy/Biophysics in Exeter. You will study for a PhD in the development of a future medical technology called Raman Nanotheranostics. We are leaders in this field and the successful candidate would be part of developing a completely new clinical platform technology that combines optical multiplexed disease detection with specific therapeutic selection and monitoring. The successful applicant would participate in a substantial multi-disciplinary EPSRC programme: Raman NanoTheranostics (RaNT), joining a team of leading scientists from the University of Exeter, University of Cambridge, London School of Pharmacy (UCL) and the STFC Central Laser Facility working to develop engineering and physical science solutions to solve clinical needs in patient specific diagnosis and effective treatment of cancers.

The team are developing innovative nanoparticle (NP) constructs, uniquely safe to the body, coupled with novel readout technologies, capable of detecting signals from depths of >8 cm non-invasively, mediating targeted therapies with light and non-invasively monitoring the efficacy of these and other therapies. This will address a critical clinical need of the provision of accurate and early disease diagnosis accompanied by effective, patient and disease specific therapy.

Your project would focus on developing novel multiplexed optical read out and imaging technologies (surface enhanced spatially offset Raman spectroscopy - SESORS) for the detection of nanoparticles delivered to tumour cells, and to deliver and monitor the light delivered to the nanoparticles to provide the desired level of hyperthermia to the tumour.

The PhD project will be based at the University of Exeter, with experimental work being undertaken within Physics and the Living Systems Institute on the Streatham Campus. Supervision will be provided by Prof Nick Stone, Prof of Biomedical Imaging and Biosensing, School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Exeter and Consultant Clinical Scientist, Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust; Prof Pavel Matousek, Senior Research Fellow, STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory; Prof Francesca Palombo, Associate Professor of Biospectroscopy, School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Exeter.

Aims:
1) Build and develop prototype deep Raman systems able to measure required SESORS signatures from cells and tissues at depths of many cm.
2) Develop methods for light delivery to nanoparticles (NP) within tissues and to monitor the local temperature within the area of interest.
3) Utilise device to provide signals from cell cultures, ex vivo tissue specimens, in vivo models.
4) Develop novel imaging methods for localisation and identification of NP clusters.

The PhD student will benefit from working in a multidisciplinary environment within Biomedical Physics and the LSI. This research would suit a candidate with a Physics, Natural Sciences, Chemistry, or Bioengineering degree, ideally with previous experience using analytical tools such as microscopy and spectroscopy techniques.

This award provides annual funding to cover UK/EU tuition fees and a tax-free stipend.  For students who pay UK/EU tuition fees the award will cover the tuition fees in full, plus at least £15,285 per year tax-free stipend.

The studentship will be awarded on the basis of merit for 3.5 years of full-time study to commence in September 2020.

Entry requirements

Applicants for this studentship must have obtained, or be about to obtain, a First or Upper Second Class UK Honours degree, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK, in Physics, Natural Sciences, Chemistry, or Bioengineering or related subjects. Experience in optics, spectroscopy, microscopy and biomedical applications is desirable.

If English is not your first language you will need to have achieved at least 6.0 in IELTS and no less than 6.0 in any section by the start of the project.  Alternative tests may be acceptable (see http://www.exeter.ac.uk/postgraduate/apply/english/).

How to apply

In the application process you will be asked to upload several documents. 
• CV
• Letter of application (outlining your academic interests, prior research experience and reasons for wishing to undertake the project).
• Transcript(s) giving full details of subjects studied and grades/marks obtained (this should be an interim transcript if you are still studying)
• Names of two referees familiar with your academic work. You are not required to obtain references yourself. We will request references directly from your referees if you are shortlisted.
• If you are not a national of a majority English-speaking country you will need to submit evidence of your proficiency in English.

The closing date for applications is midnight on the 3rd August 2020.  Interviews will be held on the University of Exeter Streatham Campus (or online) on the 17th or 18th August 2020.

If you have any general enquiries about the application process please email stemm-pgr-admissions@exeter.ac.uk or phone 0300 555 60 60 (UK callers) or +44 (0) 1392 723044 (EU/International callers).  Project-specific queries should be directed to the main supervisor N.Stone@exeter.ac.uk.

Summary

Application deadline:3rd August 2020
Value:£15,285 per annum
Duration of award:per year
Contact: STEMM PGR Admissions stemm-pgr-admissions@exeter.ac.uk