Current departmental funding opportunities are listed below. We also welcome PhD applications throughout the year from students with independent scholarship funding. We cannot, however, normally accept applicants wishing to support themselves with personal funds; such applications may be considered, but will require additional Departmental approval.

Please visit the PhD Bioengineering webpage for more on the programme and application process.

Studentships - tabs

Funded Projects

 

A MICROFLUIDIC BIOREACTOR FOR PERSONALISED CANCER MEDICINE

Supervisor: Dr Darryl Overby, Dr Joseph Sherwood, Professor Michael Seckl

Funding details: 
The successful candidate will be awarded a tax-free stipend and EU/home fees for three years at RCUK rate (£16,553 in 2017/18), along with experimental running cost. Funding is available to UK/EU citizens only.

We invite applications for a fully-funded PhD position to design and develop a microfluidic bioreactor for cancer biopsy specimens. Resistance to chemotherapy is the primary cause of therapeutic failure in cancer. Early identification of responders versus non-responders to existing or novel therapies should enable stratification for effective personalised treatment, thereby improving patient survival. The student will engineer a microfluidics system in which tumour biopsy material is kept viable within a microchannel. Maintaining viability of biopsy material in this way will allow testing against new or existing therapies, to identify the most effective treatment for the patient. The project will involve microfluidics design and fabrication, numerical analysis of fluid mechanics and mass transport, 3D printing/rapid prototyping, quantitative biological assessment and microscopy. 

Applicants should have a Master’s degree (or equivalent) in a relevant area of engineering (bioengineering, chemical or mechanical engineering or related discipline) with experience in design and analysis of fluidic systems using differential equations, numerical modelling or related methods, and a strong interest in cancer medicine. We look for highly motivated applicants with excellent interpersonal, written and oral communication skills and an enthusiasm for exposure to a diversity of scientific projects. The PhD student will be based in the Department of Bioengineering and will be co-supervised by Drs Darryl Overby and Joseph Sherwood (Bioengineering) and Prof. Michael Seckl (Head of Molecular Oncology, Faculty of Medicine) at Imperial College London.

Application:  Interested applicants should first send a current CV (with the names of 2 referees) and personal statement to Dr Darryl Overby by e-mail. Suitable candidates will be then asked to complete an electronic application form at Imperial College London. Their qualifications will then be addressed by College Registry for formal admission.

Contact details: Dr Darryl Overby d.overby@imperial.ac.uk

 


DESIGNING AND CONSTRUCTING NEUROPHOTONIC INSTRUMENTATION

Supervisor: Dr Christopher Rowlands

Funding details:  The successful candidate will be awarded a tax-free stipend and EU/home fees for three years at RCUK rate (£16,553 in 2017/18). Funding is available to UK/EU citizens only.

Progress in science is driven by developments in tools and instruments, and nowhere is this more true than in the study of the brain. The successful applicant will design and build a new holographic microscope based around a digital micromirror device (DMD), to image fluorescent-protein-based indicators of neural activity more than a hundred times faster than anyone else has ever achieved. The goal is to image neural activity faster, deeper within the brain and over a larger area than ever before. The applicant will be taught any necessary skills in optical design, instrument construction, optical alignment and programming, and will also gain experience in using the instrument for biological experiments. As their skills and knowledge increase, they will be encouraged to develop their own ideas based on their research achievements. The project will be undertaken in close collaboration with biological collaborators, allowing a broad range of skills to be acquired.

Applicants should have a background in computer science, engineering or the physical sciences, and have an interest in the development of analytical instrumentation. An interest in one or more aspects of neurobiology will be beneficial.  They should have (or be expecting to receive) a good upper-second or first class honours (or equivalent) in a related discipline.

Applicants should have good problem-solving abilities, experience of performing experiments in a laboratory setting, and a basic understanding of optical physics.  Some programming ability or experience aligning optical systems would be very beneficial. Applicants will be expected to present at international conferences and work with collaborators in different fields, so good communication skills are important; they will also possess a good standard of written English, as they will be expected to publish in top-quality international journals.  Finally, they should be self-motivated, eager to learn, creative, and willing to challenge conventions and authority.

Application deadline: Initially 01/05/2017 for start in October 2017, but open until position filled. To apply, please send your CV, and a 1 page statement of your research interests/motivation to  Dr Christopher Rowlands 

Contact details:  Dr Christopher Rowlands 


 
Development of Acellular Biomaterials for Regeneration of the Dentin-Pulp Complex

Supervisor: Dr Adam Celiz

Funding details:  The successful candidate will be awarded a tax-free stipend and EU/home fees for three years at RCUK rate (£16,553 in 2017/18). Funding is available to UK/EU citizens only.

Tissue-specific stem cells play a pivotal role in tissue repair and regeneration in response to injury. However, significant tissue damage or chronic injury requires additional interventions to support the body’s natural healing processes. The pulp/dentin complex within the tooth can be used as a model of tissue regeneration and forms a critical stage in tooth development. This project aims to develop biomaterials for dental pulp regeneration and establish the regulatory mechanisms that underlie tissue regeneration in response to implanted biomaterials. The PhD student will be taught a range of approaches, including biomaterials synthesis, cell culture modelling, confocal microscopy, and molecular biology, to identify genetic/epigenetic regulators of tissue regeneration in response to biomaterials and determine key physicochemical design parameters for regenerative dental materials.

Applicants should have a background in bioengineering or biomaterials, and have an interest in tissue engineering, regenerative medicine and medical devices.  They should have (or be expecting to receive) a good upper-second or first class honours (or equivalent) in a related discipline.  

Application deadline: Open until position filled. To apply, please send your CV, and a 1 page statement of your research interests/motivation to Dr Adam Celiz

Contact detailsDr Adam Celiz


PhD position in Neuromechanics & Bio-Inspired Technologies‌


Supervisor
Dr Lin, Huai-Ti

Eligibility and funding details
This PhD studentship in the Department of Bioengineering at Imperial College London is fully funded for UK/EU candidates (3-years) starting anytime between August 2017 and March 2018. Overseas students will be considered if alternative funding can cover the additional international student fees. Eligible candidates should have a bachelor degree (2.1 or first class) or a master degree (merit or distinction) in natural sciences or engineering with laboratory experiences.  

Project description
The lab is interested in how neural information is coupled to the physical bodies to produce highly sophisticated biological motor control and intelligent behaviors. In this project, we use large flying insects such as the dragonfly as model systems to understand how sensory encoding of mechanosensory and proprioceptive information contributes to the real-time control and fine-tuning of the flight motor system. This work requires performing fine-scale electrophysiology on insect neurons, morphological analyses on mechanosensors and high-speed kinematics recordings of flying insects. The project has implications for many high-speed dynamic motor control tasks currently inflexible or unachievable in engineered systems. The lab is equipped with the state of the art ultra-light wireless neural telemetry system which enables us to monitor sensory and motor signals from freely flying insects. Please see the lab website for additional information (htlinlab.com). 

After completion of the Ph.D, the student will have developed many of the following highly demanded skills for a career in academia or industry: technical skills to handle challenging electrophysiology experiments and motion capture systems, analytical skills for analyzing neural data, skills for modeling biological systems, engineering skills in micro-electronics and neural implants, scientific writing and presentation skills, communication and project management skills.

Application
A successful candidate should have a solid understanding in biological systems at the organismic and physiological level. A good track record in hands-on laboratory work and proficiency in small-scale dissections/manipulations will be highly desirable. Abilities to program in Matlab, Python, and/or C++ are advantageous. Most importantly, the applicant should be highly motivated, shows clear interest in the sensory representation of complex movements, and enjoys a multi-disciplinary research environment. The project can be tailored to the student within the research scope.

To apply for the position, please send a single PDF document including a one-page cover letter discussing research interest and experiences, a two-page CV, a copy of transcripts, and contact information of two references to Dr. Huai-Ti Lin (h.lin@imperial.ac.uk) with subject line “NBits_PHD_APP”. Application will stay open until the position is filled.

*The standard PhD studentship covers home/EU tuition fees and provides a bursary (this was £16,296 p.a. for 2016-17, including London weighting).

**Motivated oversea students (non-UK/EU) can discuss alternative funding with Dr. Lin.   


Research into algorithms and architectures for image analysis and computer vision

Supervisor:  Dr Anil Bharath

Funding details: Due to the nature of our funding, we can only consider candidates with UK/EU status at present. If awarded, the funding covers tuition fees and a stipend at standard research council rate for 3 years (e.g. £16,296 for 2016-17).

Application deadline: tbc

Contact details: Bharath, Anil A a.bharath@imperial.ac.uk 


Engineering of non-equilibrium nucleic acid circuitry for information transmission and signal processing.

Supervisor: Dr Thomas Ouldridge

Funding Details: This project is funded by the Royal Society as part of the 1st year University Research Fellow Research Grant Scheme.
Funding includes payment of college fees for UK/EU students and a tax-free stipend at the standard RCUK rate (£16,553 for 2017-18-reassessed annually) for 4 years.

We invite applications for a Royal Society-funded 4-year PhD studentship aligned with the theme of engineering sophisticated behaviour in biochemical systems. The project will be undertaken within Dr Thomas Ouldridge's "Principles of Molecular Systems" group [1], in close collaboration with Dr Guy-Bart Stan's "Control Engineering Synthetic Biology" group [2]. Students interested in interdisciplinary work at the interface of biology, chemistry, physics and engineering are encouraged to apply.

Nature abounds with molecular circuits that achieve remarkable feats of information transmission and signal processing. For example, kinase enzymes transmit signals from the exterior of cells to the genomic DNA, simultaneously processing this information.  The cell's response typically involves copying nucleic acid sequences into proteins, another case of information transmission. The overall effect is that the cell implements control strategies in response to complex internal and external stimuli in order to optimize behaviour. An important aspect of these systems is that they must function far from equilibrium, powered by the consumption of high free-energy molecular species [3,4,5]. 

The project aim is to design and construct artificial molecular analogs of these non-equilibrium signal-transmitting and signal-processing systems. Doing so will have two outcomes. Firstly, systematically exploring the operation of artificial analogs will contribute greatly to our understanding of the principles and constraints that govern natural systems, highlighting underlying biophysical and medical implications. Secondly, successful development of artificial analogs would be a major step towards implementing robust, modular and low-cost functional synthetic circuits in cells or cell-free environments, for the purpose of engineering molecular systems to give industrially or medicinally useful behaviour.

The work will involve designing, constructing and analysing analogs of natural systems from synthetic nucleic acids. The exquisite control over interactions provided by the rules of Watson-Crick base pairing will allow for systematic system design and optimisation. The same features will make the eventual designs naturally modular and engineerable, allowing the construction of more complex circuits from basic components. The work will be complemented by ongoing theoretical research within the group, as part of Dr Ouldridge's Royal Society University Research Fellowship, and other experimental projects in the Centre for Synthetic Biology.

Candidates from a wide range of backgrounds, with a degree in engineering, physical or life sciences, will be considered.  However, experience in a wet lab is essential, and a track record of implementing molecular reactions in vitro is highly desirable. Prior work with transcriptional buffers, cell free extracts or nucleic acids would be beneficial. 

To apply for this position, please email a single PDF file including: a (1 page max) cover letter describing your interests and research experience, a CV detailing academic performance (including grades/marks) and names and contact information of two referees, to Dr Thomas Ouldridge (t.ouldridge@imperial.ac.uk). Candidates will be considered continuously until the position is filled. 


Human performance related to role specific injuries in the military

Supervisors: Professor Anthony Bull and Dr Alison Gregor

A stipend and fees for 3 ½ years will be awarded.  Students must satisfy the eligibility criteria, including UK or EU residence for three or more years.  Candidates will also be required to pass a Ministry of Defence (MOD) security check.

Imperial College London invites applications for this unique research collaboration between the Departments of Surgery and Bioengineering at Imperial College London and the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre (DMRC) Headley Court.  The project is funded by the Women in Ground Close Combat (WGCC) and focuses on injuries in military personnel, in particular how different body types and gender are suited for specific roles within the military and how this may affect training methods and the propensity for injury.

To find out more about research at Imperial in this area, follow this link:
http://www.imperial.ac.uk/msk-lab/research/human-performance/

For further details, please contact
Professor Alison McGregor (a.mcgregor@imperial.ac.uk, + 44 (0) 20 8383 8831) or
Professor Anthony Bull (a.bull@imperial.ac.uk, +44(0) 207 594 5186 


Computational biology: In silico design and optimisation of novel host-directed therapies

Supervisor: Dr Reiko Tanaka

Funding details: 3‐year PhD studentship for computational biology & systems medicine for UK and EU students. 

Application deadline: none specified, open until position filled.

We invite applications for an NC3R-funded PhD studentship to develop a mathematical/computational method to design and optimise a new and promising IFNγ immunotherapy for invasive fungal infection.

Invasive fungal infection usually occurs in patients under immunosuppressive treatments, such as chemotherapy for cancer, leukaemia and lymphoma and potent corticosteroid therapy. This project focuses on most common fungal infection of lung, aspergillosis, resulting in a mortality of nearly 100% if not diagnosed or treated and 30-85% even if treated. To develop a mathematical/computational method to design the immunotherapy, we will develop a mathematical model that can describe the regulatory mechanisms leading to progression of chronic fungal lung infection, and use the mathematical model to quantify and assess the fungicidal impact of IFNγ, determine and validate the optimal timing for administration of IFNγ, both alone and in combination with antifungal drugs, and predict optimal prophylaxis regimens for IFNγ therapy. Our in silico approach will identify most ethical and scientifically valid experiments to be conducted, replacing the initial infection experiments with computer simulation.

Applicants should have a Masters degree (or equivalent qualification) in a relevant area (computational biology, applied mathematics, control theory, or closely aligned disciplines), experiences in modelling and analysis of biological systems using differential equations and numerical methods, and strong interests in fungal biology. We look for highly motivated applicants with excellent interpersonal, written and oral communication skills and enthusiasm for exposure to a diversity of scientific projects. The PhD student will be co-supervised by Dr Reiko Tanaka (Department of Bioengineering, Imperial College London) and Dr Elaine BIgnell (Manchester), and the project involves close interactions with clinicians in the National Aspergillosis Centre (NAC). The student will be based in Imperial College London.

A stipend and home UK/EU fees for 3 years will be awarded. The studentship is available only to UK or EU nationals. Interested applicants should first send a current CV (with the names of 2 referees) and personal statement to Dr Reiko Tanaka (r.tanaka@imperial.ac.uk) by e-mail. Suitable candidates will be then asked to complete an electronic application form at Imperial College London in order for their qualifications to be addressed by College Registry.

More information on research activities in Dr Tanaka’s group is found in http://www.bg.ic.ac.uk/research/r.tanaka. For the funding information, please see https://www.nc3rs.org.uk/studentship-vacancies.

Contact details: Dr Reiko Tanaka r.tanaka@imperial.ac.uk


Sensors

Supervisor: Dr Firat Güder

Funding Details: three-year studentship covers full Home/EU tuition fees and provides a stipend at the standard RCUK rate (£16,553 for 2017-18 p.a., incl London weighting)


Optimal synthetic biology designs for simultaneous increase in productivity and growth of engineered cells.

Supervisors: Dr Guy-Bart Stand and Dr Tom Ellis

Funding: Competitive PhD Scholarship funding available for outstanding UK/EU students and  other funding routes can be considered for exceptional overseas students.

Synthetic Biology is the engineering of living cells for useful purposes. A major problem in synthetic biology is the impact that new genes have on their host cells. Of particular interest to us is to optimise synthetic biology constructs by efficiently allocating cellular resources between native and engineered genes and by quickly recycling wastefully sequestered cellular resources. In this project, the student will develop whole‐cell models to computationally predict how growth is affected by both the (over‐)expression of genes and the controlled recycling of shared cellular resources, for example, through fast enzymatic degradation of misfolded proteins. The project will use this new tool to optimise synthetic biology designs, especially in terms of efficient allocation of shared cellular resources when both consumption and recycling rates of these resources are  odulated.

The model will be benchmarked by comparing predicted and real data for thousands of different designs for the production of antibody fragments in E. coli, and further applied to other biosynthetic pathways, e.g. insulin precursors, riboflavin and lycopene. By the end of the PhD this project will deliver a much‐needed platform for forward‐engineering synthetic biology, allowing predictions of yield, genetic stability of different pathway designs and growth rate of engineered cells. This work will benefit from previous and ongoing research on cellular burden carried out by our groups (Nature Methods 2015).

References: Ceroni, F., Algar, R., Stan, G.‐B., & Ellis, T. (2015). Quantifying cellular capacity identifies gene expression designs with reduced burden. Nature Methods, 12(5), 415–418. http://doi.org/10.1038/nmeth.3339

Ideal profile of applicants: Highly motivated and dynamic with a background in any of the following: (bio)mathematics, (bio)physics, dynamical systems and control, computer science, systems biology, synthetic biology. Other backgrounds might also be considered as long as they are clearly aligned with the goals of this project.

Please contact Dr Stan directly if you are interested: g.stan@imperial.ac.uk


 Imperial College London provides excellent opportunities for research student training. All students benefit from a full programme of training in research and transferable skills organised through the Graduate School, the quality of which has been recognised several times at the Times Higher Education (THE) Awards.

 Committed to equality and valuing diversity.  We are also an Athena Silver SWAN Award winner and a Stonewall Diversity Champion.

Other Projects

Ocular fluid mechanics

Supervisor: Dr Jennifer Tweedy


Bioengineering and the EPSRC KCL-IC Medical Imaging CDT

318 Is endothelial function assessment feasible by non-invasive pulse wave analysis? A computational and in vivo study

Supervisors: Professors Peter Weinberg (IC), Philip Chowienczyk (KCL), Drs Jordi Alastruey (KCL), Jack Lee (KCL)

Funding Details: four-year studentship covers full Home/EU tuition fees and provides a stipend at the standard RCUK rate (£16,533 for 2017-18, with London weighting); see the Imaging CDT’s Funding and Eligibility webpage for further details


Centre for Blast Injury Studies

The Royal British Legion Centre for Blast Injury Studies at Imperial College is a collaboration between military and civilian clinicians, scientists and engineers. With core funding from the Royal British Legion, CBIS is an Imperial College/Royal British Legion/Ministry of Defence partnership.

Please check the Centre opportunities page for further details.


Centre for Doctoral Training in Neurotechnology for Life and Health 

The ESPRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Neurotechnology for Life and Health spans the Faculties of Engineering, Natural Sciences and Medicine at Imperial, with investigators from thirteen different departments including Bioengineering, Life Sciences, and the Division of Brain Sciences. The CDT offers fully-funded 4-year studentships comprising an initial MRes year and 3 years of PhD.

Please check our How to apply page for full details and a list of available projects.


College-wide scholarships

PhD applicants to Bioengineering may also be nominated for some of the available College scholarships. Please visit the College Scholarships page for full details of all PhD scholarships available and application processes.

If applying for funding, you should contact your chosen supervisor well before the deadlines listed above to ensure that they have sufficient time to review your application and - if appropriate - arrange an interview. Candidates who do not meet the relevant deadlines can be considered for the PhD programme but may not be considered for departmental funding.

Please consult our research pages for further details.