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PhD Studentship: Single-molecule Barcoded Biosensor

University of Leeds - School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Leeds
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: £12,000 per annum. See advert for further details
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 12th June 2019
Closes: 30th June 2019
Funded PhD project: UK and EU
Value: Funding covers the cost of tuition fees as well as a maintenance grant of £12,000 per annum. Funding duration is 3 years. The successful candidate is also encouraged to work up to 250 hours per year as a lab demonstrator, for which up to an additional £3,000 can be earned.
Number of awards: 1
Deadline: 30/06/2019
Supervisors: Dr Paolo Actis and Professor Christoph Walti. Contact Dr Paolo Actis to discuss this project further informally.
Project description

Over 70% of healthcare interventions in the UK are already based on one or more diagnostic tests, very often involving the determination of the concentration of proteins – or biomarkers – in a patient’s blood. However, with the emergence of stratified and eventually personalised medicine, which requires the detection of very small numbers of proteins, eventually down to the single molecule levels, current diagnostic approaches have reached their limit.

You will work with a novel platform exploiting the single-molecule sensing capabilities of nanopipettes and the versatility of DNA nanotechnology. This project will build upon our proof-of-concept work to develop novel DNA scaffolds that will simultaneously carry a unique barcode and a recognition element for a specific disease biomarker. The nanopipette will be used as a single molecule reader to read the barcode and the presence/absence of the biomarker with single molecule precision.

In this project, we will develop DNA nanostructures with specific recognition elements for important infection biomarkers and will demonstrate the detection of sub-fM concentrations in small volumes of sample. You will have the opportunity to work with colleagues in the Faculty of Medicine and Health as well as the Leeds Teaching Hospital to validate our device with patients’ samples. The project will span the discipline of single molecule biophysics, DNA nanotechnology, and biosensing, but also medicine.

Entry requirements

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

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 'Single-molecule barcoded biosensor’ as well as Dr Paolo Actis 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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