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Graduate Admissions


1 year M Research + 3 year PhD to start 1 October 2018.

The core expertise of the BEST (BioElectronic Systems Technologies) group is in the generation of biomimetic biological models with integrated electronic devices for monitoring or modulation. We are currently recruiting an outstanding PhD candidate to be part of a team which will develop an in vitro platform to study the effect of the microbiome on the gut-brain axis. This studentship is formed jointly between the EPSRC and the ERC, and due to funding regulations, we are only able to accept applications from UK and EU nationals on this occasion.

The human gut is host to over 100 trillion bacteria that are known to be essential for human health. Alterations in the microbiome have been linked with many disease phenotypes including colorectal cancer, Crohn's disease, obesity, diabetes as well as neuropathologies such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), stress and anxiety. Animal studies remain one of the sole means of assessing the importance of microbiota on development and well-being, however the use of animals to study human systems is increasingly questioned due to ethics, cost and relevance concerns. The current project will focus on using engineering and materials science approaches to develop a model of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) in the context of the neurovascular unit (NVU), integrated with organic electronic technology to study the effect of host-microbiome interactions on brain pathophysiology. This work will be part of a European Research Council funded project entitled IMBIBE, generating innovative technology solutions to study the effect of the microbiome on the gut-brain axis.

The ideal candidate will have a 1st or upper 2nd class degree or equivalent in biochemistry, biomedical engineering, cell biology, or a related scientific discipline, and experience in cross-disciplinary work. The candidate will have the responsibility to generate a 3D model of the BBB/ NVU which accurately represents the in vivo situation. This model will then be integrated fluidics and sensors. Experience in working with primary cells or stem cells would be a plus. This is a multidisciplinary project and the successful candidate will benefit from an extensive peer-group of researchers, as well as an important interaction between academia and industry. Previous publications from the research group can be found at the following address:

Eligibility criteria

Applicants for this studentship must be able to meet the University's minimum entry requirements in order to be considered:

To apply for this position, please send the following to Mrs Amanda Taylor, Graduate Administrator, by 12:00 on Friday 22th June 2018:

1) Include the vacancy reference number, NQ15881, in the subject line of your email

2) A detailed curriculum vitae

3) Transcripts and/or degree certificates that include numerical details of grades obtained in relevant examinations/courses for all previous degrees.

For informal enquiries only please contact Dr Roisin Owens (

Please quote reference NQ15881 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University values diversity and is committed to equality of opportunity.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.

Key Information

Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology

Reference: NQ15881

Dates and deadlines:

Wednesday, 13 June, 2018
Closing Date
Friday, 22 June, 2018