Quantachrome Instruments

PhD Studentship

Quantachrome Instruments

London, United Kingdom

PhD Studentship:Chemist/Materials Scientist. Design of 3D printed microfluidic systems with engineered hydrogels for organ-on-chip applications

Institute of Bioengineering, School of Engineering and Materials Science, Queen Mary, University of London (QMUL)

A studentship in the design of 3D printed microfluidic systems with engineered hydrogels for organ-on-chip applications is available in the group of Prof. J. Gautrot. The research will focus on the development of novel 3D printed microfluidic systems that incorporate synthetic extra cellular matrix hydrogels with controlled physical (mechanical properties, porosity) and biochemical (cell-matrix adhesion, cell-mediated degradation, matrix remodelling) properties. This new toolkit of materials and patterning platforms will enable the design of organ-on-chip systems that can mimic cancer cell migration and metastasis.

Drug efficacy and toxicity testing require the development of novel in vitro tissue models. Organ-on-chips have recently been developed and have highlighted exciting opportunities for the development of improved models for drug efficacy and toxicity testing, and the study of cell and tissue biology. Advantages of tissue-on-a-chip models include: 1, formation of complex architectures; 2, capture of tissue functions; 3, ease of imaging (live) as tissues are already “mounted” on a thin glass coverslip; 4, the study of tissue homeostasis and pathology in a human context (ideal compromise between classic in vitro models and animal models); 5, simple recovery of liquids from the microfluidic channels in real time (e.g. for the monitoring of metabolites).

This project will develop microfluidic systems using 3D printable biomaterials developed in the Gautrot lab. The structure of the resulting platforms will be characterised using SEM and confocal microscopy. The impact of microfluidic channel geometry and hydrogel biomechanical properties on cancer migration will be investigated using immunostaining, confocal microscopy, western blotting and qPCR. This project will be integrated with other projects in the Gautrot lab, focusing on the development of biomaterials and biomimetic hydrogels as instructive microenvironment for stem cells (http://biointerfaces.qmul.ac.uk/).

Our research group has a strong track-record in the field of materials science: their design and synthesis, application as smart materials and biomaterials, microfabrication and study of cell interactions (see Biomaterials 2010, 2012, Nature Materials 2012, Nature Cell Biology 2010 and Integrative Biology 2013, Nano Letters 2014 and 2018, Acta Biomaterialia 2016 and ACS Nano 2018). The successful candidate will join our multidisciplinary team and build a strong expertise in the fields of materials chemistry, structural, physical and mechanical characterisation, microfabrication and processing.

Please contact Prof. Gautrot to confirm eligibility and to discuss the project.

Supervisor: Prof. Julien Gautrot, E-mail: j.gautrot@qmul.ac.uk

QMUL Research Studentship Details

  • Available to Home/EU Applicants only.
  • Full Time programme only
  • Applicant required to start from September 2020
  • The studentship arrangement will cover tuition fees and provide an annual stipend for up to years (Currently set as £17,009 in 2019/20).
  • The minimum requirement for this studentship opportunity is a good Honours degree (minimum 2(i) honours or equivalent) in Chemistry, Materials Science, Biomedical Engineering or equivalent.
  • If English is not your first language then you will require a valid English certificate equivalent to IELTS 6.5+ overall with a minimum score of 6 in Writing and 5.5 in all sections (Reading, Listening, Speaking).
  • Please note that this studentship is only available to Home/EU Applicants. (See: http://www.welfare.qmul.ac.uk/money/feestatus/ for details) 

Application Method:

Application on the Biomedical Materials programme (Full Time, Semester 1 start): https://www.qmul.ac.uk/postgraduate/research/subjects/materials.html

Please include a reference to ‘2020 SEMS ProLiCell JEG’ to associate your application with this studentship opportunity.

Deadline: 31st January 2020

Please apply via recruiter’s website.