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EPSRC DTP PhD Studentship in Biomedical Sciences/Biomedical Engineering

University of Reading - School of Biological Sciences

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Reading
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: Tuition fees plus RCUK stipend
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 21st December 2018
Closes: 4th March 2019

Project title:  Rapid blood platelet analysis: linking micro-capillary assays to novel digital microscopy and smartphone technology

Supervisors:  Dr Chris Jones, Dr Al Edwards, Prof William Harwin

Project Overview:  Blood clots allow us to recover from tissue injury.  Platelets are small blood cells that prevent bleeding by clumping together to form clots.  They play a vital role in cardiovascular disease, most obviously when clots form in the blood vessels of the heart or brain causing heart attacks or strokes.  Platelets also play a broader role in infection and immunity (e.g. dengue, HIV, malaria), as well as cancer metastasis.  Measuring platelet number, activity, or response to stimulation is therefore a vital tool for monitoring health and for diagnosis of various acute and chronic conditions.

This project will use advances in computing and image processing power available in modern smart phones, and the latest rapid prototyping techniques such as 3D printing, combined with a novel micro-capillary bioassay to develop simple, reliable, low-cost tests for monitoring platelet function.  This will enable platelet measurements to be performed close to the patient, offering rapid results without central lab processing, expanding platelet testing to settings that don’t have access to the specialist equipment or expertise currently needed to run these test (e.g. developing countries or primary care in the UK).

As part of our on-going program we have developed a proof-of-principle prototype micro-capillary platelet function analyser (iCAP).   The goals of this project are to expand the utility of the iCAP by understanding the fluid dynamics and platelet interactions within the capillaries, and to develop the imaging of the capillaries using low-costs 3D printable microscopes.  This will widen the range of clinical test that can be performed with the iCAP, and will be vital for its diagnostic utility and uptake by healthcare systems.


  • Applicants should hold or expect to gain a minimum of a 2:1 Bachelor Degree or equivalent in Biomedical Engineering, Physics, Mathematics, Biological Sciences, or similar discipline.
  • Applicants need to be comfortable with developing skills including programming and mathematical modelling as well as an understanding of the underlying biological mechanisms.
  • Due to restrictions on funding this studentship is open to UK/EU students.

Funding Details:   

  • Starts September 2019
  • 3 year award
  • Tuition fees plus stipend

How to apply:   

To apply please submit an application for a PhD in Biomedical Sciences at

*Important notes*

  • 1) Please quote reference ‘GS19-017’ in the ‘Scholarships applied for’ box which appears within the Funding Section of your on-line application.
  • 2) When you are prompted to upload a research proposal, please omit this step.

Application Deadline:  4th of March

Further Enquiries:  For further details please contact Chris Jones ( or Al Edwards (

Please note that, where a candidate is successful in being awarded funding, this will be confirmed via a formal studentship award letter; this will be provided separately from any Offer of Admission and will be subject to standard checks for eligibility and other criteria. 

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