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PhD Studentship: UKRI EPSRC CDT EngD Scholarship: The Formulation of Recombinant Collagen Materials as Coatings in Medical Devices

Swansea University - Engineering

Qualification Type: Professional Doctorate
Location: Swansea
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: £22,000
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 25th January 2023
Closes: 3rd March 2023

Sponsor Company: ProColl

Funding Provider: UKRI EPSRC CDT Studentship

Project start date:  

  • 1 October 2023

Background:

Collagen is the most abundant protein within the human body and plays a central role in the maintenance and repair of all organs and tissues. Collagen has a structural role as the glue that anchors and houses cells within the extracellular matrix of tissues. Thus, it is one of the most industrially important proteins with applications as a functional, structural material in medicine, cosmetics, and food. Within medicine and cell research collagen is predominantly used as a gel or a coating; the collagen is used to coat cell culture materials to allow adhesion and subsequent development of the cells. Through collaboration with Swansea University, ProColl currently produce recombinant human Type I collagen molecules with the view to expand this to other collagen types.

The research of the project will develop advanced materials in the form of new recombinant collagen materials and novel collagen formulations that are optimised for the coating of surfaces and application within cell culture, tissue engineering and wound healing. The recombinant collagen will be produced through fermentation in a sustainable process that removes the need for bovine sources and their accompanying impact on the environment. In addition, alternative raw materials for the fermentation will be investigated to further improve sustainability. The collagen surfaces will be characterised in terms of coating film morphology, biocompatibility and mechanical resilience using advanced techniques including atomic force microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, dynamic and fatigue testing systems, and cell culture. The project will examine different coating methods such as layer by layer, lyophilisation, spray coating, casting and electrospinning to control the morphology and functionality of the collagen coatings.

Project Aims:

The outcomes of the project will be the creation of new and improved processes for the manufacture of recombinant collagen. A range of novel surface coatings will be developed that are optimised for application within research and medicine. The research needed to achieve these outcomes will provide comprehensive and novel insights into collagen materials which is of interest to the academic community and will be published. The research will also be disseminated at key international conferences. ProColl will commercialise the new processes and products creating industrial impact and benefit to Welsh and UK economies. ProColl also envisage that on completion of the EngD the student will be highly qualified with relevant experience with the aim to be employed by the company to commercialise the processes and products of the research project.

Eligibility 

Candidates must normally hold at minimum (or expect to obtain by the start date) an undergraduate degree at 2.1 level (or Non-UK equivalent as defined by Swansea University), or a combination of degree and equivalent experience to the same level. 

English Language requirements: If applicable – IELTS 6.5 overall (with at least 6.0 in each individual component) or Swansea recognised equivalent. 

This scholarship is open to candidates of any nationality. 

For more information on eligibility, please visit our website.

Funding Details

This studentship covers a full award and includes a tax-free stipend (currently £22,000 per annum) and tuition fees, each for a period of four years, subject to meeting University progression requirements.  

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