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

Cancer Biomechanics and Microfluidics

Supervisor: Dr Sam Au

Project details: The Bio Micro Mechanics (BMM) Lab at the Department of Bioengineering of Imperial College is seeking a PhD candidate to explore the role of cell and tissue biomechanics in cancer.

90% of cancer associated deaths are a result of metastasis, a sequence of discrete events in which tumour cells escape primary tumours, use the cardiovascular & lymphatic systems as ‘highways’ to reach distant organs, where they grow into secondary tumours. Although the danger of metastasis is well known, we have a poor understanding of the mechanisms responsible for many steps in the metastatic cascade because observing & modifying cancer cell behaviours in animals is difficult. To overcome this challenge, we use microfluidics devices (platforms fabricated with micron-scale features for handling nano-scale volumes of fluids that are typically coated with living cells) as physical models of organ systems such as the microcirculation.

These organ-on-chip platforms are transparent and have mechanical and fluid environments that can be precisely tuned and manipulated making them ideal tools for studying microscale biomechanics. We study the interactions of mechanics (fluids, forces and pressures) and cancer biology (cellular composition/function, gene expression, omics) within these organ-on-chip platforms to develop a better understanding of the biomechanical mechanisms responsible for metastasis. These findings will be used to develop novel therapies to sabotage key steps of the metastatic cascade.

Many aspects of this project are based on new findings on the behaviour of circulating tumour cells in circulation, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences:  http://www.pnas.org/content/113/18/4947.full 

After completion of the PhD, the successful candidate will be well equipped for in-demand careers within academia or industry with many of the following skills: cell & tissue culture, cancer biology, organ-on-a-chip, drug screening, cleanroom microfabrication, computer-assisted design, statistical analysis, computational modeling, scientific writing/presentation skills and project management.

To find out more about the lab and our research goals please visit us at http://biomicrotech.science/

Eligibility and funding: This PhD student position in the Department of Bioengineering at Imperial College London is fully funded for both EU and UK candidates (3-years)*. The anticipated start date of this position is October-December 2017 but is flexible. Overseas students may be considered if alternative funding can be secured**. 

Eligible candidates should be independently motivated, have good oral/written communication abilities, work well in teams and have obtained a master’s (merit or distinction) or bachelor’s (2.1 or first class) degree in engineering, natural sciences or other relevant field. Laboratory experience and proficiency in biophysics, microfluidics/MEMS, cancer biology or computational simulations are highly desired. 

How to Apply: Applicants should send a single PDF document including a one-page cover letter discussing research interest and experiences, a CV and contact information of two professional/academic references to Dr. Sam Au (sam.gb.au@gmail.com). Review of applications will begin July 17, 2017, but applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

Deadline for application: Until position filled.

*The standard PhD studentship covers home/EU tuition fees and provides a bursary (this was £16,553 p.a. for 2017-18, including London weighting). **Motivated oversea students (non-UK/EU) are encouraged to discuss alternative funding routes with Dr. Au.   


HI-DEF ULTRASOUND ELASTOGRAPHY: CREATION OF A NEW NONINVASIVE TECHNOLOGY THAT IMAGES ELASTICITY CHANGES IN DISEASES IN HIGH RESOLUTION.

Supervisor:  Dr James Choi

Project details: PhD and MRes studentship in the Noninvasive Surgery & Biopsy Laboratory at the Department of Bioengineering at Imperial College London and the Centre for Doctoral Training in Medical Imaging at King’s College London and Imperial College London.

For project details and a link to the application form, visit http://www.nsblab.org/phd-project-ceusei

Mechanical forces – the pulsing of blood, pumping of the heart, stretching and grabbing by immune cells – govern the daily life of our bodies. When the mechanics of a cell or tissue go awry, they give early clues to a developing disease – changes in blood flow is linked to atherosclerosis and changes in stiffness is linked to cancer metastasis. Catching these signs early could save lives by getting the right treatments to the patient before the disease becomes unmanageable.

Funding details: Each studentship will be funded for 4 years. This includes tuition fees, stipends, and bench fees for a 1-year MRes followed by a 3-year PhD. Students will receive a tax-free stipend of ca. £16,000 per year. A generous allowance will be provided for research consumables and for attending UK and international conferences. Click for more details: http://www.imagingcdt.com/how-to-apply/criteria/ 

The funding supports Home/EU students with standard research council restrictions. EU students are only eligible for a full studentship if they have lived, worked or studied within the UK for 3 years prior to the funding commencing.  Application deadline: 02 July 2017

Contact details: Dr Choi, James j.choi@imperial.ac.uk


COMPUTATIONAL BIOLOGY: IN SILICO DESIGN AND OPTIMISATION OF NOVEL HOST-DIRECTED THERAPIES
Supervisor: Dr Reiko Tanaka

Funding details: 3year 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.

This project aims to develop a mathematical/computational method to design the immunotherapy, using a control & dynamical systems approach. 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


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 via be.phdadmissions@imperial.ac.uk

Contact details: Dr Adam Celiz via be.phdadmissions@imperial.ac.uk


NEUROMECHANICS OF INSECT VISION AND BIO-INSPIRED APPLICATIONS

SupervisorDr 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 October 2017 and March 2018. 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.  

*The standard PhD studentship covers home/EU tuition fees and provides a bursary (£16,553 in 2017/18).
**Overseas students (non-UK/EU) can discuss alternative funding with Dr. Lin.   

Project description
The eye movements dictate how we see the world. While modern machine vision starts to rival biological visual computations, there is currently no robust framework for how to steer a robotic vision system to collect critical information. Indeed, learning where to look is one of the best lessons a visually guided robotic system can take from biology. In this project, we use large flying insects (e.g., dragonfly) as a model system to understand how the gaze control contributes to the planning and execution of complex flight behaviors (e.g., mate pursuit, prey interception, territorial displays). The project consists of several elements including motion capture for freely flying insects, insect neck biomechanics, wireless neural recording, modeling flight behaviors using sensory neural data, and implementing a smart camera gimbal for a robotic vision system. The project is suitable for students interested in biological visual guidance and motion planning using vision.  

Please see the lab website for information about the NBits Lab

Application

A successful candidate should have good understanding of biological systems at the organismic and physiological level. A proven track record in hands-on laboratory work and proficiency in small-scale dissections/manipulations will be highly desirable. Abilities to program (e.g., Matlab, Python, and/or C++), and knowledge in electronics are a plus. Experiences in high-speed photography are helpful. Most importantly, the applicant must be highly motivated, shows clear interest in visuomotor systems, and enjoys a multi-disciplinary research environment. Since dragonflies are field animals, the lab will periodically go out in the field for collection and observation during the spring-summer season.

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.


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 


 

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 


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.