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Ingestible Sensors for the Detection of Gastrointestinal Disease

University of Birmingham - School of Mechanical Engineering

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Birmingham
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: £15,009 per year plus tuition fees
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 7th April 2020
Closes: 7th June 2020

Medicine is changing due to the growing use of big data and continuous or regular physiological monitoring of the body using wearable sensors. These trends open up new understandings of disease development and wellness. However, these sensors are predominantly limited to skin mounted sensing, and their inability to access the internal environment of the body in a minimally invasive manner prevents a greater understanding of human health. The goal of this exciting new PhD project is to create an ingestible sensor that can reside in the intestinal tract for up to 2 weeks and detect key biomarkers of gastrointestinal disease. The sensor should be minimally disruptive to the regular operation of the gastrointestinal tract and be able to safely operate within the challenging environment of the GI tract, while also being sufficiently sensitive, specific and accurate enough to be of clinical use. Additionally, the sensor must not discomfort or endanger the patient. This goal can be achieved by various means using microfabrication and novel biocompatible materials developed for other healthcare applications. Candidates should be creative, curious, organised and motivated, with an interest in medical device translation and microfabrication, although no formal experience in these areas is required. The successful candidate will develop skills in microfabrication, biosensor design, electronics and testing using conventional engineering methods and in-vitro models. The multidisciplinary nature of this project means that the successful applicant will collaborate within and without the School of Engineering as the need arises. The Biomedical Engineering Research Group at the University of Birmingham researches a wide range of areas such as biomaterials, mechanical testing, medical device design, microsystems and computational modelling. The School of Engineering is keen to achieve a gender and diversity balance across the School and welcome applicants from all backgrounds.

Students who wish to discuss any details of the project informally should contact Dr Gerard Cummins ( in the first instance by email attaching an up-to-date CV.

This PhD is funded through the School of Engineering, University of Birmingham and is available for UK and EU students only. Your studentship will cover a stipend of £15,009/year for 3.5 years and pay all home tuition fees of £4,320/year for 3 years and any additional academic home tuition fees for a further of 0.5 years. Candidates should have a very good undergraduate degree (at least a UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent) in Physics, Chemistry, Mechanical, Electronic or Biomedical Engineering.

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