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PhD Studentship: Combining Nanoparticles, Ultrasound and Lasers for a New Approach to Identifying and Treating Lung Cancer

University of Leeds - School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Leeds
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: £15,009
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 10th June 2019
Closes: 2nd August 2019
  • Funded PhD project: Worldwide (International, UK and EU)
  • Value: This PhD studentship is funded by the Hollins Scholarship (Alumni donation). Funding covers the cost of fees and provides a maintenance matching the Research Council UK rate (£15,009 for 2019/20). Funding duration is for 3 years.
  • Number of awards: 1
  • Deadline: 02/08/2019
  • Supervisors: Dr James McLaughlan and Dr David Cowell. Contact Dr James McLaughlan to discuss this project further informally. 
Project description

This multidisciplinary project will focus on the development and integration of our existing ultrasound hardware with EBUS style transducers and pulse laser illumination, to create a prototype system for testing the potential future clinical use. Imaging parameters will be tested and optimised using tissue mimicking ultrasound phantoms and imaging algorithm optimisation (MATLAB).

For the therapeutic aspects of this project testing and assessment of the targeting efficiency of functionalised nanoparticles, and establishing optimal laser exposure parameters for thermal ablation in in vitro models of lung cancer.

Key Deliverable of the project will be:
  • Successful integration and testing of EBUS transducer, photoacoustic and ultrasound imaging.
  • Established optimal laser exposure parameters for both imaging and therapeutic applications.
  • In vitro demonstration of thermal ablation of lung cancer cells using plasmonic gold nanoparticles.

The project will require a highly motivated student to work across the boundaries of engineering and medicine, where they will develop a broad range of skills including: in depth knowledge of ultrasound imaging and its applications, design and testing of ultrasound embedded systems, FPGA programming, sterile cell culture and testing, nanoparticle testing and the use of high powered laser systems and optics.

Entry requirements

Applications are invited from candidates with a degree equivalent to a UK upper second class honours degree (2:1), and/or a Master's degree in a relevant engineering or science degree such as (but not limited to) electrical engineering, physics and mechanical engineering.

How to apply

Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the university's website. Please state clearly in the research information section that the PhD you wish to be considered for is 'Combining nanoparticles, ultrasound and lasers for a new approach to identifying and treating lung cancer’ as well as Dr James McLaughlan as your proposed supervisor.

If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University’s minimum English Language requirements.

We welcome scholarship applications from all suitably-qualified candidates, but UK black and minority ethnic (BME) researchers are currently under-represented in our Postgraduate Research community, and we would therefore particularly encourage applications from UK BME candidates. All scholarships will be awarded on the basis of merit.

If you require any further information please contact the Graduate School Office e:, t: +44 (0)113 343 8000.

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