PhD Studentship - Point-of-care medical diagnostics

United Kingdom
Feb 07, 2018
Aug 31, 2018
Organization Type
University and College
Full Time
PhD Description:  The project involves the development of surface chemistries for high sensitivity Waveguide Enhanced Raman Sensors. The student will join a multidisciplinary team working on the development of this new type of point-of-care diagnostic assay based on the use of optical waveguides, designed and fabricated in the cleanrooms in Southampton, and enhanced Raman spectroscopy. The project involves collaboration with the Optoelectronics Research Centre in Southampton (who will build instrumentation and design and fabricating waveguides), Southampton General Hospital and Dstl (who will supply the biological recognition elements for the diagnostic tests). The major focus of the studentship is to develop the immobilisation and surface modification chemistries for successful attachment of the biological recognition element, antibodies, DNA, etc., to the waveguide surface so that its functionality and stability are optimised, and the interferences from non-specific binding of species also present in the sample are minimised.

The waveguides will use tantalum pentoxide (Ta2O5) as the sensing surface because of its high refractive index. The student will therefore need to develop ways to covalently modify the Ta2O5 so that they can subsequently be used to couple to the bio-recognition elements while retaining binding activity of the biological component. Dstl will provide co-supervision during this phase of the work and will provide advice and expertise on the choice of the surface chemistry in order to achieve optimal surfaces for immobilisation of the bio-recognition elements in a way that retains their sensitivity and selectivity. The student will use the optimised chemistries to prepare sensors and to test their performance with serum biomarkers of infection chosen to provide a relevant range of antigen types and concentrations required for effective point-of-care detection in a clinical situation. 

This is an exciting opportunity to work as part of a multidisciplinary team with two postdoctoral researchers and another PhD student on a new sensing platform, Waveguide Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy, for application in point-of-care diagnostics.

The project is funded for 4 years and welcomes applicants from the UK who have or expect to obtain at least an upper second class degree in chemistry or allied subjects/relevant disciplines. Funding will cover fees and a stipend at current research council rates (2017/18 and subject to increase in 2018/19) of £ 14,553 per annum. 

Due to funding restrictions this position is only open to UK applicants

Applications for a PhD in Chemistry should be submitted online at

Please ensure you select the academic session 2018-2019 in the academic year field and click on the Research radio button.  Enter Chemistry in the search text field.

Please place Professor Bartlett in the field for proposed supervisor/project

General enquiries should be made to Professor Bartlett at  Any queries on the application process should be made to

Applications will be considered in the order that they are received, and the position will be considered filled when a suitable candidate has been identified