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Position: PhD: Harnessing the bio-mechanical features of circulating tumour cells for their isolation in microfluidic devices
Institution: University College London
Department: Mechanical Engineering
Location: London, United Kingdom
Duties: In the physics-based isolation devices (such as the Parsortix® system), in addition to geometrical characteristics of the cells (i.e. cells size) and the fluidic devices (i.e. the size of constrictions), the cellular mechanical properties such as stiffness, degree of compressibility, viscoelasticity and adhesiveness may also influence the separation efficiency. Motivated by the gap in knowledge and the impact on patient care, the main aim of this PhD project is to investigate the role of cell biomechanical properties in cellular interactions with fluid flow and complex geometries. To achieve the main aim the student will employ a range of advanced computational and experimental approaches
Requirements: Applicants are preferred to have a first-class undergraduate and master’s degrees (or equivalent) in Mechanical Engineering, Physics, Mathematics or a related discipline; The position is only open to UK or EU citizens with at least 3 years residency in UK (exceptional overseas candidates can be also considered); Excellent organizational, interpersonal and communication skills, along with a stated interest in interdisciplinary research, are essential; Experience in computer programing and strong knowledge in solid mechanics and/or fluid mechanics and/or microfluidics would be essential
   
Text: PhD: Harnessing the bio-mechanical features of circulating tumour cells for their isolation in microfluidic devices, - Ref:1884535 Click here to go back to search results UCL Department / Division Mechanical Engineering Location of position London Duration of Studentship 4 years Stipend £20,000 - £24,000 per annum Vacancy Information Background: Cancer Research UKs statistics suggest that individuals have over 40% likelihood of suffering from cancer during their life. Most forms of cancer are characterised by excessive proliferation of cells in the form of solid tumours, which often shed cancer cells into the patients bloodstream to other secondary locations (metastasis cascade). These cells, known as Circulating Tumour Cells (CTCs), are scarce (a single cell in one billion blood cells) and difficult to isolate. At the same time, CTCs can be an excellent source of diagnostic information because they contain information on the type of disease, which can help decide targeted drug therapies and treatment monitoring. Additionally, their presence and quantity are indicative of patient prognosis. Therefore, the development of chemical-free, fast, and efficient (high throughput) methodologies for isolating viable CTCs, without losing its biological characteristics (unmodified), is critical for next generation point-of-care analyses of cancer. Technology: Physics-based (e.g., cell size, density, and deformability) isolation technologies are among the best-tested chemical-free methods that offer the advantage of the fast and affordable separation of CTCs from the blood sample. ANGLE plc (British multinational medical device company) employs a pioneering physics-based technology called Parsortix® System which offers an epitope-independent CTC harvesting technology and a downstream analysis system for cost effective, highly multiplexed analysis of nucleic acids and proteins. The principle of their technology is based on flowing a blood sample (containing CTCs, other blood cell types and compositions) through microfluidic devices that have fluidic channels with special patterns separating the CTCs based on their size the complex interactions between flow, constrictions, CTCs and blood. Studentship Description Aim: In the physics-based isolation devices (such as the Parsortix® system), in addition to geometrical characteristics of the cells (i.e. cells size) and the fluidic devices (i.e. the size of constrictions), the cellular mechanical properties such as stiffness, degree of compressibility, viscoelasticity and adhesiveness may also influence the separation efficiency. Motivated by the gap in knowledge and the impact on patient care, the main aim of this PhD project is to investigate the role of cell biomechanical properties in cellular interactions with fluid flow and complex geometries. To achieve the main aim the student will employ a range of advanced computational and experimental approaches. Supervisory panel, environment and training: The PhD project will be jointly supervised by Professors Emad Moeendarbary (extensive expertise in cell mechanics and microfluidics) and Ryo Torii (world-leading expert in computational biofluid mechanics) from the Department of Mechanical Engineering. The student will be actively collaborating (through regular meetings and a short industrial placement) with the industrial partner (ANGLE plc). The student will benefit from state-of-the-art mechanical engineering research training, high-performance computing, experimental laboratories equipped with state-of-the-art technologies, including SEM, AFM and microfabrication tools at UCL and London Centre for Nanotechnology. Person Specification Applicants are preferred to have a first-class undergraduate and masters degrees (or equivalent) in Mechanical Engineering, Physics, Mathematics or a related discipline. The position is only open to UK or EU citizens with at least 3 years residency in UK (exceptional overseas candidates can be also considered) Excellent organizational, interpersonal and communication skills, along with a stated interest in interdisciplinary research, are essential. Experience in computer programing and strong knowledge in solid mechanics and/or fluid mechanics and/or microfluidics would be essential. Fluency and clarity in spoken English as well as good written English in accordance with UCL English requirements (TOEFL> 92 or IELTS> 6.5). Eligibility To apply visit: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/epsrc-doctoral-training/epsrc-doctoral-training-ucl-prospective-students For further information, contact Profs Emad Moeendarbary or Ryo Torii: e.moeendarbary@ucl.ac.uk / r.torii@ucl.ac.uk. Contact name Profs Emad Moeendarbary/ Ryo Torii Contact details e.moeendarbary@ucl.ac.uk/ r.torii@ucl.ac.uk UCL Taking Action for Equality Closing Date 2 Jun 2022 Latest time for the submission of applications 23:59 Interview date TBC Studentship Start Date 1st September 2022
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